Traders being ‘left out’ of Swaffham market celebrations, council warned

Business was brisk for Ward Nurseries of Ringstead (Swpa0015) ANL-140708-133723001
Business was brisk for Ward Nurseries of Ringstead (Swpa0015) ANL-140708-133723001
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Stall holders feel they are being ignored as plans are developed to mark 800 years of Swaffham’s market, a town councillor has warned.

Major events are being planned for July and September to commemorate the earliest recorded reference to a market in the town in 1215.

And an open day is to be held at the Assembly Rooms next Saturday for residents to find out more about what is being done.

But Sheila Lister, who chairs the council’s market committee, told the authority’s meeting on Wednesday that traders who use the market were unhappy that they had not been involved in the planning process.

She said: “They do feel they’ve been left in the dark. Nobody has told them anything. They feel it’s nothing to do with them. They’re being ignored.”

Paul Darby, the committee’s vice-chairman, said the only aspect of the celebrations that has so far been confirmed are re-enactments to be performed by the Black Knight history group in July.

He said a delay in determining the outcome of a bid for Heritage Lottery Fund support, which is now not expected until the middle of May, meant nothing else could yet be finalised.

He added: “There’s lots of things in the planning stage, but there’s nothing you can say that’s definitely going to happen.”

But Mrs Lister insisted that the traders should already have been told about the re-enactment plan.

And Terry Jennison said she agreed that the stall holders should be involved.

However, Les Scott said there were several things which it was hoped traders would take part in, including special markets which may be held as part of the celebrations.

He said: “The Town Team (who are co-ordinating planning of the events) have invited people to come to different meetings when there is something particular to them.”

Next Saturday’s event is on at the Assembly Rooms from 10am to 1pm, where there will also be a medieval costume workshop led by members of the Black Knight re-enactment group.