New Inquiry and Call for Evidence

Traditional Retail Markets

The Communities and Local Government Committee has decided to launch an inquiry into traditional retail markets. The inquiry will consider covered and uncovered markets, including specialist markets (e.g. farmers markets) serving local people in English urban and rural towns and cities. Car-boot sales and markets whose customers are predominantly other professional traders are outside the scope of this inquiry.

The Committee's inquiry will focus on the following questions:

Traditional retail markets today

€ How has the picture changed over the last 10 years?

€ Are the number and types of markets in decline? If so, why?

€ Are there obstacles preventing the creation of more markets?

€ Are there obstacles hindering the successful business of existing market operators and traders?

€ What has been the impact of specialist markets eg continental and farmers markets, and do such markets integrate successfully with older markets?

Their Social and Economic effects

€ What social and economic effects do traditional retail markets have on their local communities?

€ What qualities contribute to a successful market delivering social and economic benefits, and are there examples of best practice that have a wider application?

Realising the potential of traditional retail markets

€ Does local government support markets effectively?

€ What are the advantages and disadvantages of local authorities having powers to operate markets?

€ Does central government support markets effectively? If not, what additional support should be provided?

€ Could central government make better use of markets to achieve national goals, particularly with regard to social cohesion, health and regeneration?

Planning and licensing issues

€ Do local and national planning regulations support or hinder the development of markets?

€ Do licensing regulations support or hinder the development of markets?

€ What improvements could be made to the planning and licensing regimes to aid the development of markets?

The Committee invites interested individuals and organisations to submit written memoranda addressing these topics by 19 January 09. Those doing so should feel free to include any relevant information that they would like to draw to the Committee's attention. Two or three oral sessions will be held in March/April 2009.

Guidelines on submitting evidence

Each submission should:

€ Be accompanied by a covering letter containing the name and contact details of the individual or organisation submitting evidence.

€ Begin with a short summary in bullet point form; and

€ Have numbered paragraphs.

Ideally, submissions should be sent in electronic form, preferably in MS Word format, and sent by email to and marked 'Traditional Retail Markets'. If you are unable to send an electronic version, please send a paper copy to:

Nicola McCoy

Committee Secretary

Communities and Local Government Committee

House of Commons

7 Millbank



It is helpful, for Data Protection purposes, for contact details not to be included in the text of submissions, but sent separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

€ Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work may be included.

€ Memoranda submitted should be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless specifically authorised. Authorisation to publish your submission, which is normally granted, should be sought from the Inquiry Manager.

€ Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.


Committee Membership is as follows: Dr Phyllis Starkey MP (Chair, Lab), Sir Paul Beresford MP (Con), Mr Clive Betts MP (Lab), John Cummings MP (Lab), Jim Dobbin MP (Lab/Co-op), Andrew George (Lib Dem), Mr Greg Hands MP (Con), Anne Main MP (Con), Mr Bill Olner MP (Lab), Dr John Pugh MP (Lib Dem), Emily Thornberry MP (Lab).

Specific Committee Information: 020 7219 1353 or 020 7219 4972

Media Information: Laura Kibby, 020 7219 0718

Committee Website:

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on