Bid to launch street food festival on Sidmouth’s Ham

A board advertising the Seaton Eats Boutique

A board advertising the Seaton Eats Boutique - Credit: Archant

Persian chicken wraps, Japanese curries and Mexican tacos could all be coming to Sidmouth – if the costs can be met to make a street food market viable.

Eleanor Carr hopes to replicate the success of her Seaton Eats Boutique on the Ham next summer and wants to whet appetites with an event coinciding with the Christmas lights switch-on in November.

But her proposals say the current pitch fee is ‘unfeasible’ and landowners Sidmouth Town Council appear reluctant to offer a special rate.

In her proposal, mum-of-two Ms Carr said: “Seaton Eats Boutique has been a roaring success with the local community and tourists alike. I am proposing a monthly evening street food market on the Ham from May to August 2018.

“There will be four to five stalls, either gazebo or vehicle set up, selling freshly cooked and ready-to-eat main food and desserts.”

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Ms Carr has a personal licence and will be running the bar, but said she is also happy for people to bring their own drinks. The market would be open from 5pm to 9pm.

She started the popular Unique Boutique at Exeter Phoenix and 30 of these stallholders would fill a marquee alongside food vendors at an event to complement the Christmas lights switch-on.

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But the Colyford resident said the current pitch fee makes both events ‘unfeasible’, and the cost of a marquee on November 18 could not be met by the stallholder pitch fee alone, so the space could be made available for another event the day before.

Speaking at Monday’s town council meeting, Councillor Ian Barlow said he had ‘no problem’ with the introduction of a street food market, but asked why the rates should be lowered for a commercial venture.

Cllr Marc Kilsbie said existing events keep visitors coming back ‘time and time again’, adding: “I can’t see it doing anything other than enhancing the economy of the town.”

Cllr Louise Cole noted that Sidmouth already has a food festival, which returns to Kennaway House from 10am to 4pm tomorrow (Saturday).

The matter has been passed to the council’s tourism and economy committee so Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce bosses can join the debate.

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