LOCAL food and drink producers have expressed their disappointment after being excluded from West Dean’s events this year.
This year, West Dean House and Estate will be holding four outdoor weekend events which are expected to attract thousands of visitors.
However, local producers are saying they have been turned away from this year’s festivities.
Julian Moores, a cider and apple juice producer from Appledram Farm, has worked with West Dean for 15 years.
“We assumed we were going to be involved this year, but had to contact West Dean to be told our services wouldn’t be required,” said Julian.
“It was a bit of a kick in the teeth really, and we were disappointed not be given a reason why. We feel like we have been snubbed last minute. The company they have bought in won’t be stocking our products either.
“It makes such a difference to these local businesses – it puts money back in to the local economy. We’ve been let down. All the staff are quite upset about it.”
Carola Ballard, from Ballards Brewery in Nyewood, near Midhurst, has previously sold craft ales and bottled beers.
“We are very disappointed to be excluded from the West Dean shows which we have enjoyed supporting for many years,” she said.
West Dean has appointed a national company to run the bars, although the organisation has ‘insisted’ the company will stock a number of locally brewed ales and ciders alongside any well-known brands.
A spokeswoman for West Dean said: “West Dean has opened its application process this year, rather than inviting only selected stallholders.
“This is an essential part of ensuring events are fresh and exciting for visitors.
“Each new event has its own personality and we have selected relevant stallholders to reflect these.
“To ensure that visitors to have a unique experience we have limited the number of events individual stallholders can attend to two.”