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27th Nov, 2021

Festival leaves bad taste for traders

ANGRY market traders have hit out at the borough council for allowing Food Festival stalls on Church Green when they had been told Redditch could no longer have an outdoor market, writes Holly Martin.

Business owners moved their stalls inside the Kingfisher Centre in May after the council decided to not renew its contract with market operators Sketts.

Traders claimed since the market moved indoors business had declined and they criticised the authority for not promoting or advertising the market’s new Kingfisher Centre home.

One said: “Since losing the freedom of being able to sell outdoors we have lost loads of customers – around 40 per cent have not returned to the market – we feel we have to drag people inside.

“Even on a rainy day we would make triple what we make now.”

Chris Sutton, who moved his Reddi Appliances business into a shop following the closure of the outdoor market, said his business had also declined and, although he was in a better position than most, the new set up had ‘no atmosphere at all’ compared to the outdoor market.

Chris said he was ‘disgusted’ at the actions of the council as the indoor market had ‘taken away people’s livelihoods’.

He added his father – also called Chris, who had been chairman of the Redditch Market Federation, would be ‘turning in his grave’ at the council’s lack of consideration towards the traders.

In reply Council Leader Councillor Matt Dormer said: “My door is always open to the market traders should they wish to discuss this with me.

“Th Food Festival market is only here for a few days and I think this is the future for our town.

“It’s the sort of thing people can buy into.”

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