Town market gets go-ahead despite opposition

PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 July 2012

The market will now return to the High Street twice later this year

The market will now return to the High Street twice later this year

Archant

A TOWN centre market will return to Weston - despite the concerns of neighbouring businesses who said the stalls resemble ‘a refugee camp’.

North Somerset Council has granted permission for the market to return to High Street and the Italian Gardens in August and before Christmas.

Representatives from nearby firms Walker and Ling and Cecil Walker had objected, saying the stalls were downmarket in appearance and were not the right image for the town.

A Christmas market has been held on the site in both 2010 and 2011, and the application by Robin and Anita Brookes was for permission to hold another market from August 18-25, and again from November 24 to December 8.

Tim Walker, owner of clothing shop Cecil Walker, and Hugh Boyce, manager of department store Walker and Ling, outlined their concerns at a hearing of the council’s planning and regulatory (licensing) sub-committee on July 4.

Mr Walker said: “Some of the stalls can look good, but some can be a little bit shabby and it looks a bit like a refugee camp.

“It’s not good for the town to keep the market. Last Christmas we had people coming down in coaches and buses saying they came down for the Christmas market and asking us ‘where is it?’, so we had to apologise on behalf of Weston.

“It’s not a good advertisement, it’s just a sticking plaster.”

He also suggested that the town square, which has recently been cleared, would be a better venue for the event.

Mr Boyce said staff at his shop had felt unwell after cooking smells from the Hot Hog stand had drifted into their shop, while access for pedestrians and delivery vans had also been an issue when the market was set up.

Mr Brookes said he would work alongside the businesses during the markets, and that previous markets had been supported by locals and daytrippers alike.

After deliberation the committee granted permission for the market to go ahead, on the conditions that it be limited to a maximum of 25 stalls and hot food stores should be positioned as far away as possible from shops.

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