Petition could earn market a reprieve

A TOWN S market could yet get a reprieve after a petition containing over 1,000 signatures was handed to Sandy Town Council. Last November the town council decided to axe the Friday market after more than 20 years due to a steady decrease in the number of

A TOWN'S market could yet get a reprieve after a petition containing over 1,000 signatures was handed to Sandy Town Council.

Last November the town council decided to axe the Friday market after more than 20 years due to a steady decrease in the number of stalls. At one stage the number had dipped to as low as five.

The council also informed the company responsible for the market, Wendy Fairs Market, it would not be renewing its contract after the end of March saying it was unhappy how it had been managed for the previous year.

Wendy Fair directors had also come in for criticism from a crown court judge who accused them of money laundering at another one of their operations.

When the axe fell few people thought the market would survive beyond its execution date but the campaign by councillors Nigel Aldis and Peter Blaine may have earned the market a reprieve.

"People are continuing to express their feelings and the need to retain the market in the town. With over 1,200 signatures this petition is an overwhelming indication people in Sandy still want their Friday market and it is a reflection of strong public opinion" said Cllr Blaine.

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"The door is still open. And my impression when we presented the petition to the council is that the decision to close the market will hopefully be re-investigated.

"The council must look at other options and this needs to be intensified because, whatever has been said in the past, we need to retain the market in some shape or form."

Cllr Blaine says he has spoken to stallholders who are also united behind the petition saying they want to remain in business. He also says the town council should try and get bids from other market management companies to see whether they want to take over Sandy market.

"I get the impression when the decision was taken by the council there was interest from other people but these bids were not taken forward," added Cllr Blaine.

Cllr Aldis said: "I believe the council is coming around to thinking we need the market - the stallholders certainly want to keep it going and I am sure they would keep it going themselves..

"Even if the council has to take it in house they should give it a try and see what happens because if we lose it will never come back and it is worth saving."

The petition will be considered at an informal meeting by town councillors in two weeks time.

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