Bradford Council has vowed to take legal action against unlicensed markets operating in the district after a petition from stallholders at long-standing Council markets who fear their trade is being eroded.

The authority’s regulatory and appeals panel heard yesterday about two private markets within a two-mile radius of the Oastler Shopping Centre and Kirkgate Market.

Both the Tradex Market at the former Shires Bathroom site, in Beckside Road, and the Marlboro Market at the former Marlboro Cinema, Carlisle Road, would require a licence from the Council to operate.

It has emerged organisers of the Marlboro Market handed in a completed application for the required licence a day before the crunch meeting.

The authority holds market franchise rights which gives the Council protection from a rival market within six and two-thirds miles as the crow flies. In addition, anyone wanting to operate a commercial market would need a licence from the Council.

Under the rules, the Council can take enforcement action against anyone breaching them, which may include obtaining a court injunction to order a rival market operator to cease trading. Enforcement action could also be taken if planning permission is not in place.

Legal officers believe there is enough evidence against the operators of Marlboro Market and are taking steps to gain an injunction, but the application could now put this on hold.

They are also advising that pursuing a similar injunction against the Tradex Market could be an option.

The meeting heard the Tradex site does not have planning permission for retail use, although an application has been submitted. The Marlboro site does have permission for retail use, but councillors heard a cafe was being operated at the market, and a change of use could be required to allow this.