Articles in the Daily Mail, The Sun and Nottingham Post this week are inaccurate in suggesting that the refurbished Sneinton Market in Nottingham, which benefitted from EU funds, only has three traders out of 46 because of “EU rules restricting the stalls from having tills”.
The rules for the current use of the units were not imposed by the EU.
There are no EU rules which prevent the use of tills on market stalls, either in general or in projects receiving EU funding.
The 46 units in question in Nottingham are not retail market stalls and were not even before the refurbishment.
In fact, they are former wholesale units that will now provide workspace and studios for creative SMEs.
The conditions for the Sneinton project were set at national and local level through the process of applying for and being awarded funding. The application went to and was decided by the UK managing authority for EU structural funds, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and not the European Commission. The application process for such funding is decentralised and decisions on individual projects are not made in Brussels.
Newspapers at least did – though mostly at the end of their articles – include quotes pointing out that far from in some way holding back the progress of this project, it was only happening at all thanks to EU funding.
Kathy McArdle, CEO of the Creative Quarter, which runs the market, said it herself: “Sneinton Market includes traditional market stalls, and a regular traditional market, which continue to operate tills to sell goods in the usual way. European funding only contributed to the refurbishment of 46 former wholesale units on the site – not as market stalls, but to be used as workspace for fledgling local independent businesses to make and produce goods and services. However these businesses can sell in a number of ways, including online and through a special retail hub unit at Sneinton Market itself. It’s highly unlikely this development would have happened without funding from Europe.”
The initiative is still in its early days and Nottingham’s Creative Quarter has confirmed that six new independent traders are in the final negotiations of leasing units and that it is on target for 50% unit occupancy by the end of this year and aims for an 80% occupancy by the end of 2017.
So, in summary, there are no “barmy Brussels rules” – as the Sun puts it – involved in this story.