CLIMATE change has been blamed for more extreme weather forcing rules to be updated at the historic Lymington market.
Bad conditions, such as strong winds hitting the area, have prompted Lymington and Pennington Town Council, which runs the Saturday event in High Street, to make alterations to help traders.
Stallholders had called for action at a meeting in the summer when they voiced unhappiness about the market not being cancelled in poor weather, said a report to the council’s policy and resources committee.
They reportedly blamed change change for bringing about more frequent extreme conditions.
Permanent traders are worst-hit because they pay in advance for their pitch which is wasted money when the conditions mean they cannot operate, even if the event is not officially called off.
The report said: “Traders have been feeling aggrieved that the town council has on these days not cancelled the market either before or during the day, when the weather has hit the town.”
The only time it has been called off was for safety reasons in March 2018 when severe ice and snow hit the south coast, it added. Cancelling Lymington market costs an estimated £3,700 each time in refunds to traders.
From 1st April the new rules will take into account bad weather by increasing the number of Saturdays that traders can take off annually without charge from six to eight, including illness and holidays.
The loss of the two extra chargeable days will cost the council £8,000 a year, said the report.
The protocol for cancelling market days has also been clarified. If there is bad weather likely the council will review Met Office forecasts on the preceding Thursday but closure would remain a “last resort” for severe conditions.
The report added: “The council is mindful that traders are there to make a living and any cancellation will mean that all traders will not be able to trade, regardless of their stall type or vehicle, as theirs or the town council’s insurance will be invalidated.”
As reported in the A&T, the town council recently voted unanimously to declare a “climate emergency” and promise to make the authority’s operations carbon neutral by 2030.