Traders applaud 'victory for common sense' as Saturday markets reinstated in Somerset towns

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Traders have applauded a “victory for common sense” after Mendip District Council confirmed it would allow Saturday markets to resume in the region.

The council had previously cancelled the weekend events in Frome and Wells due to concerns over viability and safety amid continuing Covid restrictions.

A campaign sprang up in the aftermath of the decision to reinstate the markets, including various petitions being launched that were signed by around 1,400 people.

Daniel Price, who runs Dan’s Somerset Deli in Bridgwater and is a regular stallholder at the Frome market, said the move was “forcing people into supermarkets” against their will to do their shopping and that the traders “would not be victims”.

The council announced on Tuesday (February 9) that the markets would be restarted in both towns as of this coming weekend (February 13).

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Frome market trader Daniel Price, who criticised the decision to close the Saturday markets as ‘unnecessary’ (Image: Daniel Price)

Mr Price said after the announcement that he was “relieved” at the council’s decision to reinstate the markets, declaring it a “victory for common sense”.

He said: “I guess i still feel it should never have been closed in the first place.

“But I am galvanised by the immense public support, the unity we showed as a group of traders, and the assistance we got from Frome Town Council and the Frome Chamber of Commerce.

Also, I am relieved that Mendip finally listened to the people and opened both Frome and Wells Saturday Markets, and reinstated trading hours across all Mendip markets.

“It’s a victory for common sense.”

A further statement shared on the Dan’s Somerset Deli Facebook page paid tribute to those who had supported the traders in the battle to allow the markets to go ahead.

It also expressed hope that the decision would allow not only for markets to resume in the short term but also allow them to grow and thrive in the long-term with more support.

The statement said: “This shows what people power, co operation, and persistence can achieve.

“The markets should never have shut in the first place.

“Now we can pick up where we left off and direct our energy in the right direction. Namely, rebuilding our businesses and the reputation of the Market.

“I am relieved that Mendip District Council have listened to the public outcry and reversed the decision made three weeks ago.

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“They announced the Market re-instatement decision ahead of the actual scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

“I applaud the efforts of all involved. I look forward to working with Mendip and Frome Town Council, and the Market Management team to maintain a Covid-safe essential market in the immediate future.

“But, also a bigger, better, well-resourced and well-advertised full Frome Market into the further future.”

The hours for weekday markets in Glastonbury, Wells, Frome, Street and Shepton Mallet, as well as the Wells and Frome Saturday markets, will be extended, now running from 9am to 2pm on the allocated days.