Fair deal angers market traders

TENSIONS today surround an attempt to reach a compromise between market traders in Ipswich and organisers of the annual Valentine's fair.The parties are trying to reach a deal whereby they can operate on the Cornhill without disrupting each other's business.

TENSIONS today surround an attempt to reach a compromise between market traders in Ipswich and organisers of the annual Valentine's fair.

The parties are trying to reach a deal whereby they can operate on the Cornhill without disrupting each other's business.

Market traders say they have forfeited two days to make way for this year's fair, which takes place for a week each February.

With them on the verge of securing a five-year deal to operate a larger market, incorporating Lloyd's Avenue and Prince's Street, they say the fair should be moved.


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But organisers of the Valentine's fair, which has been sited at the Cornhill for longer, say it was agreed there would be room for both and they feel they are being unjustly pushed out.

Mike Young, chairman of the Ipswich Market Traders co-operative, says he has nothing against the fair, but feels stallholders are being unduly penalised.

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He said: "We all get on well with John Loades, who organises the Valentine's Fair. He is a tremendous character and I personally like him very much, but what do you do? It's now the town's market place.

"It is the public and the major town stores that are against it. With the best will in the world, why can't the fair go to the town's parks like in every other town?"

Mr Loades says this option is unviable. He said: "That is not a compromise, that is simply a way of getting us out of the way. There isn't any other area in Ipswich that is suitable."

Now in its tenth year, he says the fair has already made financially damaging concessions to traders and has called on Ipswich Borough Council to help find a solution.

He added: "The council made it quite clear when they granted permission to the traders (to work on the Cornhill) that they would have to give way to certain events, the Valentine's fair being one of them.

"It would be nice if the council decided what they wanted to do and help achieve a compromise. It would help the market and it would help us."

The Valentine's Fair has proved popular with some shoppers this year. Anita Norman, from Oxford, was visiting her sister, Keeley Chapman, with her five-year-old daughter Isobel when they were in town yesterday.

Mrs Norman said: "It is fun for the children to have something to do, especially on a Sunday, because they get bored."

Mrs Chapman, of Ipswich, added: "It is lovely. If it was here regularly, we would use it a lot."

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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