Walden market traders react to lockdown lifting

A man stands under a tent filled with clothes on Saffron Walden's Market Square

Paul Rich is "over the moon" to return to Saffron Walden's Market Square. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Traders at Saffron Walden's Tuesday market said they were "over the moon" as they returned to the town for the first time in months following the latest lockdown easing.

The historic market stayed open over lockdown, but the latest easing - from Monday April 12 - means businesses in Uttlesford can sell non-essential items for the first time since December 23.

Graeme "Curly" Barham, who runs Sutton View Nurseries, has been coming to the market for around 40 years.

"We are pleased to see everyone again," he said. "The sun's come out - what more could we ask for?"

A man - Graeme - wears a cap

Graeme "Curly" Barham from Sutton View Nurseries - Credit: Archant

Garden centres were open during the winter lockdown, which gave Graeme a chance to work on his nursery near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.

He said: "We were open because plants are like humans - they don't look after themselves - but it has been a big change."

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Clara runs Quite Nice Clothing with her daughter, Georgia.

Clara said the last four months have been really hard, but that it was "absolutely fantastic" to be back in the Market Square.

Clara leans against a rack of cashmere tops and cardigans in Saffron Walden's Market Square. Picture: Will Durrant

Clara and her Quite Nice Clothing at Saffron Walden market - Credit: Archant

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She said: "I have been doing markets all my life and we have never been stuck at home and not been able to come out to work.

"Obviously, I have been doing a bit of selling online but it is not the same as touching and feeling the clothes.

"In Saffron Walden, they are all about keeping the market.

"It's part of the structure of the whole town and I'm very loyal to it with so many lovely customers, and it's a really good feeling."

Paul Rich runs a clothing stall on the market.

He said he developed his online LaCapa brand during lockdown, but is "over the moon" to be back in Saffron Walden.

Paul said: "I am going to feel this later because my body is not used to a very physical day.

"The customers we have seen are our regulars and we know want to see us."

The National Association of British Markets (NABMA) estimates UK market operators have lost £200 million in income over the past 12 months.

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