Scrapping of popular Midhurst market 'absolutely ridiculous', residents say

Midhurst residents have told of their sadness and disappointment after a new market was scrapped following a 'small number of complaints'.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 4:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 11:36 am

The ill-fated Saturday market ran for just six week before Bray Associates, which operated the market, decided to pull the plug.

It had been organised by Midhurst Town Council and Midhurst Town Team in a bid to increase footfall in the town and attract visitors.

A spokesman for Bray Associates said they could not confirm the number of complaints received.

The first day of Mihurst's ill-fated market

'Impressive' new Midhurst market enjoyed by manyOne business owner unhappy with the market was Stéphane Jacob, who owns the Midhurst Bakery in North Street. Mr Jacob said the competition from the market lost him more than £1,000 compared with July last year.

A number of residents have now spoken out about the decision to do away with the market - with it being described as 'beyond sad' and 'ridiculous'.

Neil Donnan, 74, from West Lavington said: "The minute I read that front page [Midhurst and Petworth Observer, Thursday, August 12] I thought, 'this can't be right and this can't be fair'.

"If two or three shop keepers complained how do they have the right to close something something down that was so popular."

Observer team meets readers at Midhurst marketNeil said he and his wife visited the market 'every week we could' and would try and buy something from every stall to show their support.

He added: "We were delighted when the council took the initiative to start a market, and the quality of the stalls proved to be a hit.

"Fresh and interesting bread, really fresh and high quality fruit and vegetables and a proper selection of French cheeses and meats.

"When did healthy competition become unacceptable in West Sussex? Local businesses could have taken the view that they need to up their game but sadly this was not the approach.

"The presence of a market provides a vibrancy to the town centre and we are sure visitors would come in increasing numbers if the market had been allowed to continue.

"We think it is beyond sad that healthy competition has been killed in Midhurst on the basis of a 'small number' of complaints."

Midhurst market scrapped following complaints from retailersJohn Templeton from Chichester said: "I was very surprised and disappointed to read that the Saturday market in Midhurst which only opened last month had already closed down.

"A recently pedestrianised market square in a beautiful market town with no market! How strange is that?

"The other four towns within the national park which are known as market towns all have popular markets which serve not only the local community but also attract visitors who support the shops, pubs cafes and local attractions.

"Midhurst, at the heart of the national park, is again the only market town without a market."

Lisa Wellstood took to social media to share her views: "It's absolutely ridiculous that a couple of retailers cannot handle a few hours of competition once a week!

"Unfortunately for them the market was bringing people into the town as well so they'll have lost customers with their short-sighted view.

"Places like Petworth and Arundel manage to have great markets that draw visitors into the town. They understand the value of another reason for people to visit.

"How is that a couple of people have gotten to dictate where the rest of us can shop? Why weren't customers allowed to decide for themselves where they prefer to shop?

"I'm a bit confused about why the market allowed itself to be held to ransom this way?"