farmers markets threatened as council axes funding
councillors have this week axed funding for Burnham-On-Sea's farmers
markets, putting the future of the monthly events in jeopardy.
a meeting on Monday night (April 2nd), councillors voted in favour
of removing all grant funding after feedback from High Street
shops that the events are adversely impacting their trade.
Farmers Markets, which organises the events, has received £1,000
each year from the council towards the cost of road closures,
equipment and event organisation.
However, councillors say there is insufficient support from traders
and not enough evidence that the markets bring new visitors or
residents into the town to justify continuing to giving a grant.
Chris Williams, Chairman of the council's Policy and Finance Committee,
told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Many shop owners whom we have spoken
to feel the markets are operating in direct competition to their
business. And, while the shops pay business rates, the market
pays nothing. We have also not seen any evidence of the market
expanding or growing in the last two years."
a survey of residents carried out last month by the team overseeing
Burnham-On-Sea's £99,000 Mary Portas funding bid identified
huge support among residents for the monthly farmers markets,
as we reported here.
decision follows after an earlier meeting of the Town Council's
Policy and Finance Committee, where Cllr Dennis Davey proposed
that no grant be given, which was seconded by Cllr Helen Groves.
An amendment put forward by Cllr Martin Cox proposed that £500
- as a mid-way sum - be given and this was seconded by Cllr Pauline
Pollard, but the amendment failed. Town councillors considered
the proposals on Monday night and voted not to give any funding.
monthly markets are held on the last Friday of each month in Burnham
High Street. Organisers will have to seek alternative funding