Stallholders slam move as a shambles
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.
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