LETTER: Upset at festive market prices

Keyboard SUS-160615-124004001
Keyboard SUS-160615-124004001

There seems to have been a reported upset over the Christmas Market held in Priory Meadow, Hastings last Christmas as mentioned by the Observer and seems to be a talking point among many.

The great disappointment that the Strangefruits folks had with a totally unbelievable hike in the site rental with a fivefold increase to £1,500 for the site, is very understandable by many.

The Christmas Market is important to many members of the public who visit to browse and buy, it is also important to those who spend time and money to come to Hastings town centre to show their wares.

Why has the cost of the sites gone up so much?

Why has a London based company been brought in to run a Hastings market?

Why was the £1,500 charge suddenly dropped to £1,000 just like that, making the whole thing smack of profiteering at the expense of small businesses local to us.

Stacey Bell, the manager at Priory Meadow, seems to be unable to help local people enjoy the market at a reasonable cost and states that ‘agents had worked hard’ to reach a compromise - obviously not hard enough to obtain the as mentioned ‘best possible shopping experience’ when a regular small business trader has been left out.

Stacey Bell says that the pricing structure was in line with what other traders around the UK markets pay, what is seemingly left out of this equation is that Hastings is not among the most affluent towns in the UK and surely that should have been taken into consideration.

If Forum Centerspace want big market town prices in Hastings, this will undoubtedly lead to traders having to put prices up to cover setting up costs and in the long run damage the Hastings Christmas Market for all except those that are supposed to be running it in the interests of all, not just the people at the top.

Let us hope that we can all enjoy this years Christmas Market, not just agents and managers and companies running it, but all who visit and those who set up stall and add to our real ‘market’ experience in Hastings.

Derek Stocker

Duke Street

Bexhill

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