FolkWeek trade rule praised

THE new rules of street trading on the seafront during FolkWeek have been well received by traders and performers.

THE new rules of street trading on the seafront during FolkWeek have been well received by traders and performers.

In July, the Esplanade was re-designated as a consent street for street trading in order to restrict the number of traders during Sidmouth's FolkWeek, limiting the number of stalls to 54 and of a certain size.

The clashes between stallholders and performers last year led to this new situation, where stalls now have to pay £15 per day, but some residents are still not happy with the situation.

John Govier, a seafront resident for 25 years, said: "I love to see people enjoying themselves.

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"I'm not against a limited number of traders on the sea front but I think there's been overkill - half that number of stalls would have been adequate.

"The seafront has to accommodate the deck chairs, the thousands of people, musicians and dancers during FolkWeek and now it has to accommodate some 60 stalls and there is no room."

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With two uniformed East Devon District Council (EDDC) officers keeping an eye on the seafront, the traders have welcomed the new rules, believing them to be fairer.

Judith Smith, on the stall of Christian by Design jewellers, said: "I think this year there are a lot more patches and it makes it a lot fairer.

"It is healthy competition and it gives us more legitimacy as street traders."

At the EDDC licensing and enforcement committee meeting ,the licensing manager did point out that on the worst day last year there were 60 stalls counted on the seafront.

Councillor Christine Drew, Chairman, Licensing and Enforcement Committee, said: "The feedback we have received is that the new arrangements are working well, with traders, customers and performers appreciating the well-ordered system that is in place.

"One or two unlicensed traders have pitched up on Sidmouth seafront but have been moved on swiftly by EDDC's monitoring officers, who work for Licensing, StreetScene, REACT or Environmental Health."

A report will be compiled giving recommendations as to how this year's experience should influence the council's strategy in the future.

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