War of words over Italian market plan

TOWN centre chiefs last night defended a decision to run an Italian market on Bank Holiday Monday - despite fears that it will take business away from local retailers.

Craig Robinson

TOWN centre chiefs last night defended a decision to run an Italian market on Bank Holiday Monday - despite fears that it will take business away from local retailers.

Patrick Hockley, of Woodbridge Fine Foods, said he was “astonished” to learn the event would be held on one of the busiest days of the year.

He fears shoppers will spend their money at the market - which uses outside traders - instead of supporting local retailers.


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But last night Marion Wells, of Woodbridge Town Centre Management, which helped organise the event on Monday, August 31, in Budgen's car park, said she hoped the opposite would be true.

“We were approached by the market to see if we would be interested and we decided we would give it a try on the Bank Holiday because most of the other food businesses aren't open,” she said. “The market had seen that we have a fairly buoyant economy and it wasn't all doom and gloom in Woodbridge - it was somewhere that they wanted to come and visit.

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“The town centre management group had a discussion and we felt it was something a bit different and would maybe encourage a few more people to the town.

“That way, when they're finished at the market, people may stay on a little longer and spend their money elsewhere.

“In our opinion it is exactly the same as the vintage and contemporary market that was held earlier this year with great success. It used outside traders but it also brought a lot of people into the town and put Woodbridge firmly on the map.”

But Mr Hockley said: “I am astonished. They [Woodbridge Town Centre Management] are supposed to be encouraging people to support local shops - not bringing in other traders to take people's money out of the economy.

“The traders will come in and then go. The money they get from Woodbridge will be spent elsewhere. Bank Holiday Monday is usually a busy time but because it is new and interesting people will visit the market and local businesses will miss out. It seems completely contrary to the whole notion of a town centre management committee.”

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