March 16, 2017
Burnham-On-Sea town centre farmers markets set to stay in High Street

Burnham-On-Sea town councillors have this week given their backing to monthly farmers markets remaining in the town's High Street.

During a meeting last night (Wednesday, March 15th), members of the council's Town Projects Committee discussed the future of the farmers markets in their current location.

It comes after we first reported here that Cllr Louise Parkin had questioned during February's council meeting whether the number of stalls at the markets justifies the High Street being closed each month. "Is it worthwhile closing the street for a small amount of stalls when road closures are so detrimental to the trade of our existing shops?" she asked.

Councillors heard from a member of the public, Bev Milner Simonds, during Wednesday's meeting, who said: "Putting it bluntly, I was gobsmacked at the comments of one town councillor regarding the farmers markets."

"The markets are well patronised, bring people into the town centre, and the figures from the footfall cameras in the High Street prove that the busiest days for the town centre are when they farmers markets are held."

She added: "Several residents have even told me that the farmers markets are the only reason they come into town - and when they're here they buy a lunch, do some shopping, have a coffee, and wander round the town centre."

Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton and Cllr Martin Cox gave their support to the markets in their current format.

Cllr Cox said: "We represent not just the traders but residents too, and many do appreciate these markets - the footfall figures show an uplift when the markets are held. The only recently poorly attended one was in January when there was bad weather. People will vote for the markets with their feet."

Cllr Janet Keen concluded: "We will recommend to the full Town Council that we continue to support the presence of farmers markets in Burnham, having monitored them, and will review them again in a year's time."

The recommendation from the committee will be considered at the next full Town Council meeting in April when a final decision will be taken.

Jo Hayers, Burnham's Farmers Market Co-ordinator, told after Wednesday's meeting: "It was a positive discussion - I'm pleased to have the backing of the council."

Pictured: Wednesday's council meeting where the markets were discussed; and, above, several of the busy markets in Burnham last year


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