Last man standing - one remaining stallholder as Stalham Market is poised to close

Kevin Knowles at his burger van on Stalham market.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Kevin Knowles at his burger van on Stalham market.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Stalham Market, once a thriving attraction with 100-plus stalls, is poised to fold – having dwindled to a single burger van.

Stalham Market in 2012 when it began a now doomed fight for survival. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Stalham Market in 2012 when it began a now doomed fight for survival. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) is proposing to formally close the market, likely to have been in existence for hundreds of years.

NNDC said attempts to attract more stallholders had failed and the market was 'heavily and disproportionately subsidised by the council tax payer'.

The news has been greeted with sad resignation in the town, with some claiming the council could have tried harder to drum up trade.

Kevin Knowles, who has taken his burger van to the Tuesday morning market for more than 30 years, said the rot had set in when the market site was sold to Tesco, which opened in 2002.

Roy Turley's watercolour of Stalham Market in its glory days. Picture: SUBMITTED

Roy Turley's watercolour of Stalham Market in its glory days. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant


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The market was first moved to the rough back area of NNDC's car park at the opposite end of High Street, and later to the hard-surfaced front.

'People just don't come up to this end of town,' said Mr Knowles, 61, of Guardian Road, Norwich.

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'If the district council would close High Street on Tuesday mornings I could get a dozen stalls to come in, just like that, but the council's not interested.'

Stalham Town Council has suggested that the market be moved back to the rough area and that traders should not be charged.

Former stallholder Christine Boggis, who led a campaign two years ago to attract more stalls, claimed all their ideas had been quashed.

Market stallholders had suggested free parking on market day, a trial period in the High Street, or using part of Tesco's car park.

'We felt as if we were up against a brick wall,' said Mrs Boggis, who ran a market plant stall with her husband Tim for about four years, finishing in November last year.

An NNDC spokesman said they had tried to promote the market and had reduced fees by 10pc.

What do you think? Email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk, including your name, address and daytime phone number.

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