Council criticsed over French market

ANGRY shopkeepers have criticised a town council over the way it handled the recent visit of a travelling French market, which they said affected their trade.

ANGRY shopkeepers have criticised a town council over the way it handled the recent visit of a travelling French market, which they said affected their trade.

Sudbury's Chamber of Commerce has now demanded local traders are given further consultation before the 25-stall French market is ever invited back to the town.

The town council introduced the market, known as the La France Chez Vous, after a survey revealed 70% of Sudbury residents favoured it.

Hundreds of shoppers flocked to the 25-stall market, which lined the town's North Street for four days last week.


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But local traders and British market stallholders said they were not consulted enough over the introduction of the market, which they said cut their trade by 40%.

They said many of the stalls sold identical goods as local traders and that access to shops in North Street was made difficult.

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The matter was due to be discussed last night at a private meeting called by the town's Chamber of Commerce.

Group chairman John McMillan said: "We have received reports from local traders who say their trade was badly hit during the period of the French market. We feel there was a lack of consultation with the traders over the shape and form of the market. Many feel too much of North Street was blocked off and we have had reports of the stalls selling identical goods to the shops next door. We will be discussing the matter and asking the council to ensure traders are more involved in the consultations if the French market is ever invited back."

Lesley Hood, who runs the Beau Fashions clothes shop in North Street, said: "For the three days we opened during the French market our business was down by 40%. The market itself did very well but it drew away our custom. The stalls were so close to the shops that people were walking down the middle of the street and not coming near us."

Town hall spokesman Jodie Budd said: "We sent out an original questionnaire to all market traders and residents asking them if they wanted specialised markets and the majority did.

"We are now sending out another questionnaire to every shop in North Street to get their opinions on the subject and we will welcome any comments, but they must be in writing. The full council will discuss the issue on April 29."

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