Sidmouth’s Thursday market on the brink

Organisers and stall holders at the newly established Friday market in Kennaway House

Organisers and stall holders at the newly established Friday market in Kennaway House - Credit: Archant

Weekly event may have to have to fold earlier than expected as support drops

Organisers of Sidmouth’s Thursday market have warned the event may have to fold earlier than expected - as support has reached an all-time low.

The weekly event was dealt a blow in January when St John Ambulance announced plans to sell the Blackmore Drive hall where it is held.

Despite calls for the premises to kept for community use, the building is set to close on July 31. Market organisers say they are unlikely to last that long as the news has already taken its toll on trade.

Organiser Mark Wood said: “The St John Ambulance Hall is going and so people are not coming out to support the market. We just feel like questioning whether it is worth carrying on. We will see how it goes over the next couple of weeks, but if it carries on as it has been, we will be pulling out of the hall before the expected date. We looked at what we were doing last year compared to this year. It’s not sustainable like this. It’s just a struggle. We do it for the people of Sidmouth, but we just think to ourselves, is it worth carrying on?”

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Mark, along with Steve Hendrickse, has been running the market for the last three years and says it aims to offer plenty of good, local produce to visitors, as well as a friendly place for people to gather and socialise.

While the pair are disappointed at the impending closure of St John Ambulance Hall, they plan to keep a weekly market running for the people of Sidmouth for as long as possible.

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On Friday, they secured continued use of the Cellar Bar in Kennaway House to run a new weekly market.

They hope to keep this running from 9am to 5pm each Friday and stalls will sell a range of goods and crafts, as well as refreshments.

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