Stall­hold­ers slam move as a sham­bles

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­group.co.uk

THE forced move of Ash­ford’s street mar­ket into the Lower High Street has been de­scribed as a sham­bles.

Launch­ing a broad­side at last Thurs­day’s coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing, Lib Dem leader Cllr Bob David­son at­tacked of­fi­cers for what he claimed were a cat­a­logue of bro­ken prom­ises to traders.

He said: “We have lis­tened to a lot of waf­fle. Eighty per cent of the prom­ises to stall­hold­ers have not hap­pened and the sit­u­a­tion is un­ac­cept­able.

“We should be of­fer­ing Ash­ford a de­cent and thriv­ing street mar­ket and we are not.”

He was speak­ing as the ex­ecu- tive dis­cussed a re­port de­tail­ing a three month re­view of the re­lo­ca­tion.

Stall­holder David Lyons was crit­i­cal of the lack of signs, pub­lic­ity in gen­eral, hav­ing no mar­ket man­ager and no an­chor points for stalls or power sup­ply.

Power

He said: “Trade has dropped 50 per cent. It is like a wind tun­nel and we are told there are prac­ti­cal is­sues pre­vent­ing sig­nage. Power used to be avail­able but now we are told we can use gen­er­a­tors, which are not sat­is­fac­tory.

“We are three months down the line and I don’t know any­body who thinks the ad­ver­tis­ing or sit­u­a­tion is good.”

Coun­cil leader Cllr Paul Clokie (Con) as­sured him the con­cerns would be ad­dressed and the cost of pro­vid­ing power would be in­ves­ti­gated.

Paul Jack­son, head of en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices, said ad­ver­tis­ing ban­ners had health and safety im­pli­ca­tions but in the long term they were plan­ning new sig­nage though­out the town cen­tre.

He said: “We had pos­i­tive re­sponse from traders to ra­dio ad­ver­tis­ing but we need to look at re­fresh­ing that in the run-up to Christ­mas.”

Cllr David­son called for proper signs on the out­skirts of town in­di­cat­ing there was a mar­ket.

He said: “Our ef­forts are a mock­ery. The only pub­lic­ity that has had an im­pact was through the press re­port­ing this fightl.”

David Lyons says the site is like a wind tun­nel

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