Bury St Edmunds: Annual Christmas Fayre is unfair, claim traders

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
8:53 AM

Businesses in Bury St Edmunds have staged a mini-backlash against the town’s infamous Christmas fayre.

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Around 100,000 people flocked to the town at the end of November for the four-day fayre, which featured a variety of market stalls as well as music and entertainment.

The fayre has been hailed as the biggest and best ever by organisers St Edmundsbury Borough Council, but some traders and residents in the town have hit out at the annual event, saying it is more of a hindrance than help at what is a busy time of year.

Eric Goodridge, who owns Eric’s Prime Cuts in Stamford Court, said: “It takes people away. It’s alright for them to say it’s good when they’re selling other products, but they take people from local trade.

“It’s a hard time to make a living around here and I don’t think it helps small businesses at all. Maybe one or two, but that’s it.”

Katie Buckley-Smith, practice manager at Premier Podiatry in St Johns Street, was another who criticised the fair.

She said: “We lose business. People ring up and say we’ve been driving for more than an hour but can’t get into Bury.

“For people that are running appointment businesses, it’s unbelievably disruptive. It’s bringing people into Bury to appreciate a very specific area.”

Eighty-five-year-old John Steggles, from St Marys Court, was unable to do his usual weekend shop around the town’s market.

He said: “It’s certainly a disruption as far as I’m concerned. People come from quite a distance every weekend for the usual market, and they’re not coming in either.

“I have considerable doubt about how much benefit it will bring to local traders.”

Robert Everitt, St Edmundsbury’s portfolio holder for communities, said that some businesses do miss out due to the fayre, but it is for the greater good of the town.

He added: “Some retailers don’t have the benefit of the type of businesses that benefit from our fayre, but what we do know is that all those people that come and visit Bury at the Christmas fayre will want to come back again. In doing so, we get a vibrant town centre.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to show off what a fantastic town Bury St Edmunds is and it’s for the greater good. It benefits the town immeasurably.”

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