Monthly street food market in Sidmouth given go-ahead

Complaints have been raised about an 'increasing' problem with dog mess on the Ham

Complaints have been raised about an 'increasing' problem with dog mess on the Ham - Credit: Archant

A monthly street food market selling dishes inspired by international flavours and cooking methods could be held in Sidmouth next summer.

The evening market, which would be called Sidmouth Eats Boutique, has drawn inspiration from a similar event held in Seaton.

It would feature up to five stalls on The Ham, with food such as Persian chicken wraps, Japanese curry, Mexican tacos, German sausage, American pulled pork and French patisserie cakes on offer. There would be a bar, four trestle tables and space for picnickers.

Proposals seeking permission to hold the market were put before Sidmouth Town Council’s tourism and economy committee on Monday.

The applicant has requested to use the site at a reduced rate but councillors said the event could only take place if the organiser paid the normal charge.

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Speaking at the meeting, David Wheaton, chairman of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber did not support the application.

He added while they were not scared of fair competition, they thought holding the market would be unfair for the town’s traders who had to pay business rates and other costs for their premises.

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He added: “The applicant here is basically trying to get a free ride, and to add insult to injury, they are asking you to do at a lot less than your normal charge.”

Mr Wheaton said there were bylaws to discourage drinking in public on the Esplanade and that he could not see the difference between that and drinking on The Ham.

He said: “The applicant paints a picture of a street party but I fear if you have cooking, the drinking of alcohol and tents being pitched it could end up looking more like an encampment than a street party.”

Councillor Ian Barlow said the rates for The Ham were there to ensure fair competition and should not be lowered.

He added: “Everyone loves food. By drawing people into the town it will create atmosphere, get people in and if they like it, they will come back. It also gets the other traders to up their game.

“Although I don’t think The Ham is the right place for it - I think it would be better in the middle of the town by the Market Place.”

Councillor Louise Cole added they should support the application but said Sidmouth retailers should be able to have a market table too.

A combined street food and art and craft market may be held to complement the Sidmouth Christmas light switch-on this year.

An application seeking permission for five food vendors, a bar and a marquee containing up to 30 stalls featuring the work of local artists and craft makers was put before the town council this week.

It was the second part of a proposal which included a monthly street food market which the applicant was looking to hold next summer (see story, right).

This part of the proposal was for a Sidmouth East Boutique and Unique Boutique Art and Contemporary Craft Market on The Ham on November 18, between 12pm and 8pm.

Sidmouth Town Council’s gave the application the go-ahead on Monday, providing the organiser is willing to pay the full rates for using the recreation ground.

It is hoped the event will encourage more people to do their Christmas shopping in Sidmouth.

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