In these cash-strapped times Local Authorities who are the proud owners of Market Rights and Market Places should be mindful of the potential value of such property ownership for several reasons:
(1) A market right, whether deriving from statute or franchise, is an incorporeal hereditament which can be leased or licensed to a third party, provided, of course, that the Local Authority retains control over the right, and does not somehow compromise its statutory duties and obligations to exercise the right over the market place for the benefit of the public;
(2) A market right provides the local authority with the monopoly power to control of any market or car boot sale within the franchise area, usually being within 6 2/3rds miles of its market site;
(3) Unless the right to operate the market is fixed to a particular place in the Local Authority’s area (such as by the terms of the franchise or the local Act of Parliament) the market can usually be moved to a different location within its area. This means that often the original site of the cattle or other general market can be freed up for subsequent development, providing the local authority with the possibility of receiving some considerable financial gain;
(4) As the Local Authority owns such rights and land in its capacity as a property owner, any such financial gain is not ring-fenced. It does not receive such sums by way of local taxes, or from Government support.
Edward Cousins is the author of Pease & Chitty's Law of Markets and Fairs, Sixth Edition which is also available as part of the Local Government Law module of Bloomsbury Law Online.