No Christmas market for Saffron Walden traders

PUBLISHED: 09:12 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:54 31 May 2010

MARKET traders have been told by Saffron Walden Town Council that they will not be allowed to take part in this year s late night Christmas shopping. Jewellery trader Rob Asquith - who has had a stall at the popular seasonal event for about 15 years - sai

MARKET traders have been told by Saffron Walden Town Council that they will not be allowed to take part in this year's late night Christmas shopping.

Jewellery trader Rob Asquith - who has had a stall at the popular seasonal event for about 15 years - said the decision was a blow for his business.

"It's usually one of the busiest days of the year for me, so I'm very disappointed I can't take part," he said. "The market traders have always been involved in the past and it's been successful."

Late night Christmas shopping is an event organised by the Saffron Walden Initiative (SWI) and will take place on Friday December 11. Town centre shops will open late and charity stalls will line both sides of King Street.

Instead of having stalls in the Market Square, the space may be used to provide entertainment.

Town Clerk Malcolm White said the market traders had been invited to the event, but there was not a sufficient number who were prepared to do it.

"We spoke to the traders and there wasn't enough interest - we need about 10 to 15 to make it work," he said. "They don't want to do it because it's a very long day."

Organiser of late night shopping, Peter Riding from SWI, said: "My only problem with the traders coming is that because they arrive early in the morning they often want to leave early. If there's more than 100 people in the square then this can be very disrupting."

Mr Asquith, a representative for the market traders, said he would be appealing to the town council to change their decision, as well as asking them for extra market days on Sundays in December and on Christmas Eve.

"Christmas is obviously a peak time for all the traders and we want to be able to take advantage of that," said Mr Asquith. "Some shops in the town are open on Sundays we want to be able to do the same."

A questionnaire of the market traders has revealed that seven would like to take part in the late night shopping, between eight and 10 would like to trade on Sundays in December and 10 would like a Christmas Eve market.

"The council has already discussed Christmas Eve and that won't be happening," said Mr White. "The area would have to be pedestrianised for the whole day - which many of the shops don't want - and there are not enough traders to make a market."

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