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Town’s market reopens again ‘bigger and better’ following controversy

PUBLISHED: 13:47 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:47 10 July 2020

Downham's Market reopened again with more stalls. Picture: Adam Harding

Downham's Market reopened again with more stalls. Picture: Adam Harding

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A market that was forced close over protest claims has reopened again with plans for it to be “bigger and better” than before.

Downham's Market reopened again with more stalls. Picture: Adam HardingDownham's Market reopened again with more stalls. Picture: Adam Harding

Downham Market Town Council reopened its market on Friday, July 10, introducing more stalls and expanding further in the town centre.

It comes after the facility was forced to shut for two weeks as a result of a “planned demonstration against safety measures” after it reopened for the first time since Covid-19 on Friday, June 5.

Traders said they were unaware of the protest and criticised the authority over its handling of the situation.

But after a “fruitful meeting” with both parties, the market reopened under social distancing measures with old and new traders taking to the town hall’s car park and market square.

Social distancing measures were enforced by staff at Phoenix Events (East) Ltd who put in place barriers and one way systems. Picture: Adam HardingSocial distancing measures were enforced by staff at Phoenix Events (East) Ltd who put in place barriers and one way systems. Picture: Adam Harding

The town council said: “We are still practising social distancing and are providing hand gel and masks so everyone can stay safe.

“The market is bigger and better and we are planning on it getting even bigger and better.

“A town needs a market but a market needs a town.”

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Social distancing measures were enforced by staff at Phoenix Events (East) Ltd who put in place barriers and one way systems.

Adam Harding, director, said the market was “very busy” with more than 200 people turning up before 10.30am.

He added: “There’s been lots of positivity and buzz, it’s great to see people back.”

The council has been accused of trying to close down the market, which it has continually denied.

Social distancing measures were enforced by staff at Phoenix Events (East) Ltd who put in place barriers and one way systems. Picture: Adam HardingSocial distancing measures were enforced by staff at Phoenix Events (East) Ltd who put in place barriers and one way systems. Picture: Adam Harding

Elaine Oliver, town clerk, said: “We always have planned to make it bigger and better, our intention is to keep it going.

“We’re really excited and pleased and we hope people will come back to see it all.”

In her weekly mayoral message, Mrs Hayes said: “This opening has been possible by working and having meetings with the traders so we could all go forward together and over coming weeks and months the town council’s hope is that we go on to be even bigger and better and to put the market back into Downham.”

The market square, near the town clock, has not been used by traders since 2003 after the market was relocated as a result of the town’s regeneration project.

Downham's Market expanded onto the Market Square, which has not been used by traders since the town's regeneration project. Picture: Adam HardingDownham's Market expanded onto the Market Square, which has not been used by traders since the town's regeneration project. Picture: Adam Harding

The market is open from 8am to 3pm on Friday and Saturday.


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