Friday evening Swaffham market given the green light

Ambitious plans to launch an occasional Friday evening market to showcase Swaffham to tourists travelling to the coast at weekends have been given the go ahead.

The market aims to tempt people driving through on the A1065 to stop in the town and spend money in its shops and restaurants, and visit again.

The first market, which is expected to include a range of food, flowers and bric-a-brac, will set up on August 17 and aims to catch holiday makers during the school holidays.

Further events will follow on September 14 to coincide with the town's food festival, and on December 7, a week after the Christmas lights switch on.

Cheese seller Rob Christie told Monday's market committee, which approved the plans: 'To me it's very much trying to stop people who are passing through and drawing attention to what's going on on Saturday.

'I think it's very clear we are trying to expand our horizons to people who don't usually come.'

Stalls will set up between between the Buttercross and Legends cafe, and the road will be closed to traffic despite fears it could cause tailbacks from the A1065 traffic lights.

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The plans will see the loss of about 12 parking spaces, but parking will remain available in the central market place to make it easy for tourists to stop on the spur of the moment.

Committee chair Sheila Lister came up with the idea of the market following the successful launch of a similar Tuesday evening market in Thetford last month.

She said: 'The whole point is we want to catch the people going to the coast.'

Some Saturday Market traders had raised concerns a market the previous night could affect their takings.

Speaking after the meeting, artificial flower stallholder Charlie Smith said: 'I think you will find the attitude of the market traders is that if it affects their trade on a Saturday there are going to be problems.'

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