Uproar over site for farmers' market
A NEW farmers market that begins in Portishead next week has angered High Street traders who say its location will take business away from the centre of town.
A NEW farmers' market that begins in Portishead next week has angered High Street traders who say its location will take business away from the centre of town.
The market will be held at Waitrose Piazza on the second Saturday of each month and will sell a wide range of locally grown produce from meat and cheese to plants and flowers.
Bob Hughes, who runs Top Hat & Tails gift shop in the High Street, said: "This is absolutely ridiculous.
"The High Street is not as busy as it should be in a town of this size, so we need initiatives like this to bring people in to the centre of town.
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"Placing a farmers' market at Waitrose Piazza will just take more people away from the High Street and the traders will disappear. I am astounded that local councillors thought the location was acceptable."
A representative from the farmers' market said the High Street was the preferred location of farmers.
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Mike Amos said: "The farmers wanted the market to be situated in the High Street but were persuaded by members of Portishead and North Weston Town Council to look at the Piazza site.
"Our aim is to support the local traders and bring additional trade to them from the visitors using our stalls. Both our Nailsea and Clevedon markets are in the town centres."
Sue Mason, Portishead and North Weston Town Council chairman, said: "After looking at many High Street sites for the market we suggested the organisers look at the Piazza as it met much of the criteria - it is visible from the road and it has a supply of electricity and good vehicular access.
"We believe it is an opportunity to bring both sides of the town, old and new together. "Of course the main objective is to bring people to the town and to keep our residents shopping in Portishead as opposed to jumping in their cars and going elsewhere."
Traders are upset they were not consulted about the site, but Waitrose believes the market will be a huge asset to the town and bring trade in to both the shop and the town centre.
Spokesman, Chris White, said: "We were involved in the initial talks with regards to the site of the market and view it as a positive for Portishead."
The farmers markets are organised by A Taste of North Somerset, town councils, the district council and the Primary Care Trust.
The first event is being held at the Piazza on Saturday from 9am-12.30pm.