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‘We’re glad to be back’ - People pleased to see reopening of town’s market

PUBLISHED: 12:04 02 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:04 02 May 2020

Swaffham market has reopened. Picture: Swaffham market superintendent

Swaffham market has reopened. Picture: Swaffham market superintendent

Archant

A centuries-old town market has reopened for the first time since lockdown.

Swaffham market reopened on Saturday, May 2. Pictures: Market suptdSwaffham market reopened on Saturday, May 2. Pictures: Market suptd

Swaffham Town Council decided to revive the 800-year-old market, despite some people calling the move “totally irresponsible.”

Stallholders and customers at the first morning’s trading were pleased to see it back.

Council staff were on hand to provide assistance and direct anyone to the appropriate queue and town councillor Brendan Holmes said: “There was an excellent system in place which certainly rivals any other essential food supplier. “When you go to other markets they are not manned and this was really well managed.

“It’s a very divisive subject, whether to reopen it or not, but they supply essential food. I have been helping Swaffham emergency fund during the lockdown, and some people say they are terrified of going to supermarkets. This gives them another option.”

Swaffham market reopened on Saturday, May 2. Pictures: Market suptdSwaffham market reopened on Saturday, May 2. Pictures: Market suptd

Fruit and vegetables stallholder Richard Wright, from Wisbech’s Fountain Fresh, said: “We’re glad to be back. We have been looking forward to it. This is the only market we do that has been closed, It’s been about six weeks.

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“We do a lot of markets, at Chatteris, Wisbech, Swaffham, Halesworth and Ely. I think among the people it’s been 50/50 whether they wanted the market to reopen. I had one person today saying that we were not key workers and were just profiteering, but we want to make sure our customers get supplies. We also do deliveries. This is not a social event.”

Daniel Finnis, who runs Routs of Wisbech fishmongers, said: “We’re glad to be back. I don’t know why it’s been so controversial. We have five mobile shops and the majority of markets have gone on quite happily.

Swaffham market reopened on Saturday, May 2. Pictures: Market suptdSwaffham market reopened on Saturday, May 2. Pictures: Market suptd

“They’ve got crowd control barriers here, queuing at two-metre intervals with stalls spaced out and a one-way system.”

MORE: Council tips reopening in parts of country - but not yet in Norfolk

Essential food items available included meat, fruit and vegetables, fish, bread, eggs, cheese, flour and pasta.

The market closed on March 24 after the prime minister introduced national lockdown.

But the council was persuaded to reopen it after a number of traders and residents got in touch about heading back to the stalls.

The market runs on Saturdays until 1pm.


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