Watton Farmers’ Market trades for the final time

Traders and organisers of Watton Farmers' Market are 'sad' after trading for the final time yesterday.

The traditional monthly attraction, organised by a team of volunteers from the Wayland Partnership, had been running for 12 years on the High Street.

In its heyday the market had 18 stalls, but ended up with four.

Jan Godfrey, chairman of the Wayland Trust, said: 'In the past month two of our traders said they could not sustain it any longer. It left us with two regular and two seasonal stalls. We all felt that wasn't sustainable. You don't attract the custom with that small number of stalls.

'We have been going for 12 years and for 10 of those years we have had a good market, but the recession has made a big impact.'

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She added the traders and customers were loyal to the monthly market, which only sourced produce from a 30-mile radius.

'It is always sad when something ends but I think we would all look back and say it was good. We have all loved it and our stallholders have always told us we ran the best market,' Mrs Godfrey said.

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She added the partnership would take a break and review the situation when the economy improves.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said: 'We are all familiar with the challenge facing market towns across Norfolk. Market towns have reinvented themselves to remain part of country life and today we have to adapt to the pressures of squeezed family finances and the internet. Watton High Street has experienced the same pressures as the rest of Norfolk.'

Barbara Spieglei, 68, from Ashill, who regularly shopped at Watton Farmers' Market, said: 'It is very sad that people don't support local enterprise. When this is no longer here people will be saying why don't we have a Saturday market.

'It is so easy to go into a supermarket and buy stuff at half the price but there is no comparison. It is a huge mistake for this to be closed.'

For a full report into the challenges facing Norfolk's farmers' markets, read tomorrow's EDP.

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