ALL the market stalls in Bedale should be on the sunny side of the street, according to a local stallholder.

Mr Tony Pelton, of Catterick, said changes should be made because shoppers and visitors did not necessarily use both sides of a Tuesday market divided by an intensive traffic flow which included articulated lorries and agricultural machinery.

He made his comments, in written representations to a Hambleton council committee considering the economic viability of market towns, with specific reference to Bedale.

He said all stalls should be concentrated on the sunnier eastern side of the market place to make browsing and shopping more pleasant and create more comfortable pitches for stallholders.

He conceded, however, that to achieve this the bus stop, disabled parking spaces and public seating areas would all have to be moved.

He added: "If all this could be achieved and trading and public interest did increase, the market might well develop along the east side and then be extended along the west side."

Mr Pelton said another pelican crossing would be needed, where the school crossing patrol at present operates, to enable shoppers to circulate around the two sides of the market.

He added: "The present pelican crossing is taking trade away from the west side of the market. The movements of people are polarised by this fixture. People are deterred from crossing the road elsewhere in the high street, and from walking down the west side."

Mr Pelton concluded: "Closing the road to enable stalls to face each other is an ideal and cheaper than undertaking the work and reorganisation outlined. The problem remains. It is a physical one.

"Bedale market is not an attractive market in the traditional sense. All the stalls need to be together. This needs to be in place before a weekly or monthly midweek farmers' market, which would be a first, is added."

Mr Steve Quartermain, head of planning and environmental services at Hambleton, told the environment and economy scrutiny committee that some of Mr Pelton's suggestions would need substantial alterations to the market, which was to become the subject of a review under the government's best value regime.

The committee has already agreed to visit Leyburn market on January 18 and Bedale on January 22, the day of its next planned meeting