COMPETITION is, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, “the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others.”
However when it comes to our High Streets and Market Places it seems it can be seen as a constant challenge to establish superiority over others when selling the same or similar things, possibly at different prices, in a busier spot – particularly when their costs are maybe £8 or £12 to take a vehicle into a car boot sale and yours will be thousands of pounds in rent and other costs.
So the call goes out, as it has in Bedale, for a more level playing field, for fair rather than unfair competition. Throw in the town’s new bypass and there is a nervousness that the playing field is becoming more of a slope.
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But the town council has a very successful car boot sale on its hands – it is undoubtedly incredibly popular bringing in thousands to the town every Saturday from March to October. They get much needed money to help with costs and local organisations and charities get funds for running their events and shaking buckets – Bedale Community Library made £1,500 out of their recent collection.
So the question is balance. Hambleton District Council is promoting the area’s market towns, but in Bedale the traditional Tuesday market in the centre of town has five or six stalls, a drop in the ocean compared to the car boot’s 130 or more.
And are other market towns affected? Bedale doesn’t believe there is anything they can do this year, but on the council’s own website it does say the car boot sale is for second-hand goods. Perhaps a wider investigation is called for.