Grantham retailers hit out over Christmas Market
Businesses in Westgate and the Market Place, Grantham, have expressed their anger at ‘being deserted’ by this year’s Christmas Market on St Peter’s Hill.
The annual event normally took place in several locations in the town centre, including the Market Place, Westgate and the George Shopping Centre. But all attractions were brought together on St Peter’s Hill for the first time last year sparking fury among business owners in Westgate and the Market Place who felt that they were never consulted about the changes until it was too late.
Paul Adams, director of The Juniper Tap and The Tap & Tonic, in the Market Place, brought in extra staff and opened especially for the event on Sunday but was disappointed with the lack of any activities being positioned in the market place.
He said: “It feels like the Market Place has become the forgotten area of Grantham despite all the money that was spent making it a pedestrianised area for such events.
“The decision to hold all events at St Peter’s Hill also meant closing a major road.
If you look at the Christmas market in Newark it was held in the market place and appeared to be very successful.
“The Christmas market should support the town as a whole. The market area appears deserted. We don’t even have the large Christmas tree there anymore.”
Christine and John Burnett have owned Westgate Gallery for 18 years.
They opened on Sunday as they always have done for the Christmas market.
John, whose family have been trading in the town since 1820, said: “The Christmas market used to be superb for us. It was exciting and all the retailers in the area got involved but now it has been taken from us without any consultation. Where is the sense of community? It doesn’t exactly capture the ethos of the town. I have given up hope.”
Chris and Eric Woolley opened Number 14 on Westgate, selling china and porcelain, last year.
After failing to attract a single customer during last year’s Christmas market, they decided not to open on Sunday.
Chris said: “We just didn’t think it would be worth it. I am born and bred in Grantham and have always enjoyed the Christmas market so it’s very disappointing that we can’t be involved.
“We were offered a stall on the Guildhall Green last year but we can’t exactly take pieces of china and porcelain there. We have always tried to support the town but where is our support?”
A spokesman for South Kesteven District Council said: “This is the second year that we have run the Christmas Market on St Peter’s Hill to co-ordinate with the lights switch-on at the Guildhall.
“More than 10,000 people attended on the day and 7,500 for the lights switch-on itself.
“Our ambition is to grow this event year-on-year, so that more and more areas of the town benefit.
“Next Christmas we plan to co-ordinate festive events across the district, increase the number of traders and put on more side-shows so it is even bigger and better.
“We are committed to helping local retailers and are keen to hear ideas that could help us achieve that.
“This is the second year running that Downtown has supplied 75 Christmas trees along Westgate, lighting up the whole street instead of siting one main tree in the Market Place, which has previously suffered from vandalism.”