Burnham-On-Sea shop owners this week gave a cautious welcome to plans for a three-day continental market to be held on the town’s seafront.

Town Centre Manager Anne-Marie Spalding told a town council meeting that the market is scheduled to take place on The Esplanade during the first week of July.

But the event was given a cautious welcome by John Edwards, chairman of the Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade, which represents shops in the town.

“We need to be very careful that those traders who already sell products like bread, meat and gifts do not have their noses put out. They need to be fully considered,” he said.

Chamber member Alex Turco added: “We need to encourage as many of the market’s visitors into the High Street to diffuse the argument that trade is being taken away by the stalls.”

But former Burnham-On-Sea Mayor, Cllr Louise Parkin, who chairs the Town Improvements Committee where the scheme was discussed, reassured them: “We want people from outside the town to come into Burnham and also visit the High Street. The market may be a good event to encourage them to return and shop here in the future.”

Members of the Town Improvements Committee also looked over promotional material showing the types of stalls that might attend. Products on sale will vary from bread and wine to clothing, crafts and jewellery.

After some discussion over whether the range of products should be restricted to those that do not compete with existing traders in the town, councillors voted to back plans for the market to sell them all.

Cllr Neville Jones explained: “You could actually make a good argument to cut out everything on the list, but that would defeat the whole object of having an event like this.”

The market is likely to be held on The Esplanade, near the town’s tourist information centre, and will be promoted heavily in the weeks leading up to it.

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