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No Swaffham Christmas lights switch-on or funfair, but plans in place for festive market




There will be no Christmas lights switch-on and funfair at a market town this year, but discussions have begun regarding festive stalls.

Swaffham Town Council has discussed plans for a festive market after it was decided the lights switch-on, funfair and Santa's grotto should be omitted due to the gathering of crowds this could attract during the coronavirus pandemic period.

During a full council meeting yesterday evening, town clerk Richard Bishop said they are looking at charging very similar to the standard market rate of £15 for stalls, but food stalls would potentially cost £25.

Colin Rigby and Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner turn on the Christmas lights in 2019. There will be no switch-on in 2020 due to the coronavirus
Colin Rigby and Swaffham mayor Jill Skinner turn on the Christmas lights in 2019. There will be no switch-on in 2020 due to the coronavirus

Councillors Ian Pilcher and Graham Edwards suggested all stalls should have the same charges in line with the standard Saturday market rate.

Mr Bishop said: "There will be no funfair or light switch-on, just the market. The financial side of things should come to the full council regarding the stall fees.

"I would see the stalls being completely different. It's mainly Christmas crafts and that type of thing.

Crowds gather in Swaffham for last year's Christmas lights switch-on. Plans are in place for a festive market this year instead
Crowds gather in Swaffham for last year's Christmas lights switch-on. Plans are in place for a festive market this year instead

"If there were 20 stalls in the main area we would not need the road to be blocked off but if there are say 35 stalls then yes, but Breckland Council have already got a road closure notice. There is no cost for putting up a town council stall and we are just paying for skeleton staff."

Councillor Paul Darby's proposal to go ahead with the market was approved by councillors after being seconded by councillor Lindsay Beech.

Mr Darby said: "We do not know what is around the corner in a few months time but I propose we go ahead."

Meanwhile, the council has unanimously approved a request from Gray's Fair to hire the recreation ground in Swaffham for the next two weeks.

Councillor Judy Anscombe told the meeting: "I certainly support the funfair coming to Swaffham in order to keep businesses going but this council has to follow guidelines."

She suggested implementing a one-way system at the recreation ground, similar to the safety measures which have been put in place for the market.

And councillor Wendy Bensley said she spoke to several people in Wells after Gray's Fair had been there recently, who were all very happy with how the funfair was organised.

She added that she was very supportive of the funfair coming to Swaffham this month, having already been at Dereham as well.

Councillor Ian Pilcher added: "I endorse the support in favour of the funfair if it is line with specifications and responsibilities."

Mrs Bensley's proposal to allow the fair to hire the recreation ground was seconded by Mr Pilcher, and unanimously approved by councillors.



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