Westmeath County Council has served an enforcement notice on Brosna Market, which will require traders to cease activity by the end of January.
It is thought that the market’s organisers may not have the required planning permisison to operate a retail business in an area of Mullingar Business Park which is zoned for other types of industry.
Pat Keating of Westmeath County Council’s legal and enforcement section confirmed that a warning letter had been sent to the developer in December, following complaints of unauthorised activity. An enforcement notice was subsequently served, which will require traders to cease activity by the end of this month.
“It is standard practice and we are obliged to follow procedures; either something has planning permission or it doesn’t. I’m not in a position to say with certainty what the position is at the moment,” said Mr Keating.
“Once an enforcement notice has been served it is a matter for the developer. They may decide to regularise things by seeking to retain the business, or they may apply for an exemption.”
Organiser of Brosna Market, Jim Rossi feels that the market is being singled out by the council.
“Why is Brosna Market being picked on? If they are concerned that we are taking business away from the town, why would they allow other retail businesses to open up nearby? It is not an industrial area,” he said.
“We are only open one day a week, and are getting a lot of support from our traders and customers.”
Commenting on the situation, Cllr Ruth Illingworth said she hoped any planning issues would be swiftly resolved so that the market could continue to operate.
“It is important to support local business, and there are quite a lot of retailers in the market. Brosna Market is bringing people into Mullingar and not in any way damaging the town centre. I hope the matter can be resolved and the market will be in a position to carry on serving the people of Mullingar and Westmeath.
“Obviously I wouldn’t expect the council to ignore the law and they have to enforce it, but it wouldn’t look good for the council to close down such a market. The council needs to realise how tough things are and to support businesses in the town.”