Road signs row erupts

A THRIVING monthly market which has helped safeguard Suffolk's farming community is facing an uncertain future after an unlikely row erupted over roadside advertising signs.

A THRIVING monthly market which has helped safeguard Suffolk's farming community is facing an uncertain future after an unlikely row erupted over roadside advertising signs.

The popular Long Melford Farmers Market has regularly attracted 700 visitors since its inception almost a decade ago.

But numbers have plummeted recently - and organisers claim it is because Suffolk County Council has banned them from advertising the monthly event.

While council chiefs said the signs - some of which were close to a known accident blackspot - could impair drivers, market organisers claimed they were being unfairly discriminated against.


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Peter Speed, treasurer of the farmers market, said: “We have always felt that the signs were the best way to attract customers.

“Our understanding is that the council felt it might put drivers off and cause accidents.

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“But while this might be understandable, it seems to be one rule for us and one rule for everyone else.

“Bearing in mind there are a lot of roadside signs, I don't see how our one is going to impact too much.”

Market organisers fell foul of the county council after attempting to put small signs advertising the sale along the A134 in Long Melford - the scene of a number of fatalities.

The farmers' market has been a popular part of Melford for almost ten years, meeting every month at the village hall and selling various bread, meats and plants.

Mr Speed added: “It is very important - to many traders, it used to be just a second string but it has since become quite an important outlet.

“If the farmers try and sell their produce to supermarkets, they have no choice. But this is a way of earning some more money and without it, I think many would struggle.”

A spokesman for the county council said they had banned the market from putting the signs up on the A134 due to the road's recent accident record.

He added: “We would advise the market organisers to either have official AA signs or contact landowners to get their permission to advertise away from the roadside.”

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