Saturday trade was ruined for many Leighton Buzzard market stallholders after the locks were frozen at the storage units containing their gazebos.
Tables were laid out instead for those stallholders who rent the town council’s gazebos – but a bout of afternoon rain saw a number of them forced to pack up early.
Traders who have kept their own stalls following the council’s market relaunch in September were left unaffected by the day’s issues.
One trader – who did not wish to be named – said the tables were an “eyesore” and added: “We still had to pay for rent which I think was very unfair considering the council was unable to put the gazebos up ... if it had been my own lock, I would have found a way to unfreeze it.”
Victoria Harvey, of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, said: “Traders have been put under huge pressure to have gazebos. For the council to be unable to get into the depot and to expect the traders to have stalls with just tables and no protection from the weather and pay full rent is unbelievable.
“Many traders went home with wet stock, which is a huge problem for them.”
Leighton-Linslade Town Council clerk Mark Saccoccio said: “As I understand, at 4.30am when the stall erectors arrived at the depot, the bollard locks were frozen solid meaning it was impossible to gain access to the depot and the market equipment.
“In accordance with our market resilience plan, the market opened with traders either working beneath their own gazebos or from their vans. The town council was able to provide tables from which to work from.
“We wish to thank our loyal traders for their understanding in what we would hope is a one-off situation.
“In the meantime, measures have been put in place to ensure that such a situation does not occur again.”