MARKET traders have hit out at the council’s plans for privatisation.

A competitive tender process is under way allowing companies to apply to run Kendal Market on behalf of the council but stallholders are worried about a lack of clarity on their future.

Trader Graham Thorpe, 63, said: “There are lots of rumours circulating but no one is telling us anything.

“It will depend who ends up running it and if they have the knowledge and insight required.”

Trader Angela Armstrong, 47, said she was worried that a new company might increase the market’s rent.

“If another company comes in, they could select who stays and goes.

“If a private company decide to put the rents up, that’s it for some of us. It’s a big fear”.

Since 2019, the council has been interested in offering the running of the markets to interested parties.

Marie Sheriff, 74, one of the longest working traders in the market, said: “No one knows anything. It is very unfair, if they know they are not telling us."

A council spokesman said: “We have endeavoured to keep all traders informed about the plan to potentially outsource the management of the markets and are committed to working with all involved, including the traders, to create an even more successful market that the town can be proud of.

“We met with traders and have given additional time to allow traders, along with South Lakes Labour Party, time to submit their own tender bid. We communicated this to all traders by letter, which also detailed the timetable of the process, which concludes with possible Cabinet approval for the outsourcing of the management of the market following tender review. The tender for the market was released onFebruary 9. The tender will be 30 days, followed by review and in-depth negotiations with interested parties followed by a final bid by those interested parties.

“We have made clear that none of this meant there was any threat to the future operation of the market and that the whole purpose was putting the market on a secure footing for the future. If the council does not feel that outsourcing is the best option following tender return, the council may well decide to keep the management in-house but it will be judged on what is best for the market and town."