Crowds at Broadway Market last weekend. Photograph: courtesy of a local resident

Visitors to Broadway Market will see an increased police presence and extra licensing and enforcement officers this Saturday and Sunday in response to the busy scenes that made headlines recently.

Overcrowding meant traders were forced to close early for safety reasons last weekend, despite only 29 out of 150 stalls being in operation as part of the council’s Covid-secure markets plan.

The events prompted criticism on Monday from one of the market’s traders’ associations, whose representatives spoke of their “distress” and claimed their warnings to the council had been “ignored”.

Announcing the move to bolster security, community safety boss Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas said: “In line with our Covid-secure markets plan, only a small number of market stalls were actually operating last weekend, however we were forced to take the decision to close early because of large numbers of people congregating around shops selling takeaway alcohol. 

“We have written to businesses this week to urge them to follow government coronavirus guidance, but we will be forced to take action if they do not comply.”

Licensing officers will ensure shops along the street are obeying Covid rules, which do not permit the purchase of takeaway alcohol unless it has been pre-ordered. No market stalls are licensed to sell alcohol. 

The Town Hall’s inclusive economy chief Cllr Guy Nicholson added: “I’d like to thank and commend the behaviour of market traders at Broadway Market, who have been trading successfully in line with our Covid-secure plan since August.

“We are committed to ensuring the market can continue to trade during lockdown in line with government guidance, and are working closely with traders on a new layout for the market this weekend.”

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