Market bonanza for North Walsham

Jenny Harmer, owner of Chimneys Bed and Breakfast in North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Jenny Harmer, owner of Chimneys Bed and Breakfast in North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Shoppers will be able to enjoy free parking and special Christmas deals during a North Walsham multiple markets bonanza which many hope will be a springboard for change in the town.

A traditional European food and craft fair will be taking place in Market Place on December 19 and 20, from 9am-4.30pm, and a separate farmers' market is happening in the town centre on December 21 between 10am-2.30pm.

It is hoped the farmers' market will become a permanent event for North Walsham, to be held on the last Saturday of each month, and three have already been organised for January, February and March.

The farmers' markets have been organised by North Walsham Town Council, energetically supported by the Regenerate North Walsham group and the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.

There will be free parking on Saturday and Sunday at the Bank Loke, Vicarage Road and New Road car parks.

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North Walsham bed and breakfast owner Jenny Harmer, part of the regenerate group, said: 'We hope it will be a springboard for change in the town. Not only are we creating a farmers' market, we are creating a platform for quality small businesses. We are traditional with a modern kick.'

The newly-created @NWXmasMarket Twitter feed for the weekend publicises local traders from North Walsham and farmers' market stallholders.

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During the weekend, 20 town centre shops will be putting on special deals.

On the Sunday there will be live entertainment including the North Walsham Salvation Army band and skiffle band the Peasants are Revolting.

Currently 19 stalls are booked for the market and are all Norfolk producers, selling goods from ale, pies and sausages to wine, coffee and chestnuts.

'The idea of these markets is to enhance the town and bring in more people to the different traders who are doing well. It is to get North Walsham's footfall back on track,' Mrs Harmer said.

She added: 'The town is geographically central for everything and has good transport links. It should be buzzing. I want North Walsham to be renowned for good wholesome produce. There are big possibilities for the market.'

North Walsham businessman Rob Scammell, one of the regeneration group founders, said: 'North Walsham is the largest town in north Norfolk and the population is there but we need more to attract people into the town centre. If this goes well we will look at other markets. We want to promote market heritage in the town.'

Chef Charlie Hodson, Norfolk Food and Drink Festival Champion, said: 'North Walsham isn't as effervescent as it used to be. It is one of our oldest market towns in north Norfolk and has a beautiful market place. It could be served so much better.'

To book a stall ring 01692 404114 or 01692 406172.

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