THE MAJORITY of market traders in Kendal are opposed to plans to privatise the operation, the region's Labour group have claimed.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) is in the process of drawing up a tender to lure private sector companies to take on the operation of the markets for a five-year lease.

But South Lakes Labour say they have conducted a survey of 20 indoor and outdoor market traders and 90 per cent felt the market should not be run by a private company.

"Westmorland and Lonsdale Labour Party opposes this entirely unnecessary privatisation," said the group's chairperson Paul Braithwaite.

"The market is part of Kendal's identity. It must belong to the community.

"That the council pleads that it lacks the skills to operate the market is disgraceful.

They should listen to market traders' ideas and find ways to apply the best of these, whilst retaining council management on behalf of us all."

The Labour group said 85 per cent said they felt the council should continue to run the market.

SLDC have previously said the aim of the move was to bring them 'into the 21st century' by delivering profitability, year-on-year growth and a range of improvements, and it is understood more than a dozen companies have shown initial interest in taking on the operation.

The council said the markets were in decline and there was a pressing need for an improved layout, new units, better branding and a more consistent appearance of stalls.