THE organisers of Dunbar's recent Christmas market have backed a retail expert's recommendations that laws on street trading should be relaxed - as future events could depend on it.

Despite having already held three successful markets - one in December 2010 and two this year in June and November - Dunbar Arts, Crafts and Produce Market may not hold any next year unless "frustrating" red tape is cut.

The group behind the High Street events, organised in an attempt to draw shoppers back to the town centre, claims that stringent rules and regulations make holding markets "complicated" for members of the public.

Earlier this month, retail consultant Mary Portas submitted a review to the UK Government which called for the removal of "unnecessary regulations" to make it easier for people to become market traders unless there are valid reasons why they should not.

Also among Miss Portas's 28 recommendations was that the UK should introduce a 'National Market Day' to give budding shopkeepers a chance to try their hand at operating a low-cost business.

Louise Nicolson, one of the Dunbar market's main organisers, has backed the report and called on the Government and all local authorities to take heed of the advice.

"I know there are certain regulations and you can't just let anybody go for it because lots of things could happen," she said.

"But at the same time, the amount of regulations that are there and the amount of rules we have to follow and oversee are so complicated that it puts your 'average Joe' off.

"I'm just an average Joe trying to do something in the town. Local authorities need to get their fingers out and make an effort. It's up to them to make it easier for us." One of the complications is cost. Although the market itself does not need an operator's licence as it is run by a community group, failing to gain that licence would see stallholders each having to apply for an individual street licence, taking their expenditure to more than �100.

That cost has only been avoided by the market applying for an operator's licence, costing �240 to cover 20 stalls.

"It's frustrating because you don't know what's coming next," added Louise.

"You don't know what else you're going to be asked for." Councillor Paul McLennan, Dunbar ward member and council leader, has asked East Lothian Council for a review of the regulations.

Organisers will meet in January to discuss the future of the market.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: "We are aware of a campaign to relax the rules around street markets.

"However, as we enforce the rules contained in the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, any significant changes would have to come from the Government amending the act.

"There are certain, minor, elements that are set locally - for example, fees.

"If we received a request to amend the level of fee, then this would be something that could be put before the licensing sub-committee for consideration."