Town shopkeeper launches petition calling for weekly Ramsgate market to be reinstated – The Isle Of Thanet News

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Jim says the market is vital for downtown

A shopkeeper in Ramsgate town center has started a petition calling for the return of the weekly Friday market.

Jim Brady, who runs the Heaven and Hell gift shop, says the Friday market is a lifeblood of the city, bringing people to the high street.

The city market closed when covid restrictions were introduced in March 2020. It briefly reopened in June of that year, but placement issues caused the market to close. A proposed new site for the Pier Yard car park on the seafront was sabotaged at the 11th hour.

Traders were then given the green light to use the Staffordshire Street car park, taking up space in several disabled parking spaces. But there was a drop in the number of merchants participating on Friday and none wanted to set up on the site on Saturday.

Photo Maxine Morgan

The low number of stalls meant a drop in income, as the operator at the time, Hughmark, made the decision to cease trading in the town.

In October 2020, Thanet Council said there were plans to create a new Canterbury-style format with lookouts and theme days and that the market contract would be put out to tender.

But there has been no return from the market since that date.

A soft marketing exercise in January this year received an expression of interest from Ramsgate City Council, but the authority received no response.

In June this year, members of the Cabinet of Thanet Council agreed to remove restrictions on street trading and peddling on High Street, King Street and Queen Street, to facilitate an open-air market and bring services market operators on call for tenders for a week (subject to a building permit) or monthly outdoor market in the town centre. This bidding process does not appear to have been launched yet.

Thanet Council said two potential locations have been identified as suitable for a market: Ramsgate High Street and/or Westcliff Promenade Green.

The council aims to charge a fee of £250 per market, meaning an annual income of between £3,000 and £13,000 depending on whether the markets are held monthly or weekly.

Jim, who has been trading in the town for around 15 years via the market, his old shop in Harbor Street and new premises in the High Street, says it’s time to reclaim the market – ideally with Ramsgate Borough Council who directs it.

He said: “I am collecting signatures right now until the end of October to present to council to show them how important the market is to the town – not only economically but also as a vital community centre.

“Many of my customers said they used to come to the market, meet up and have coffee with family and friends and that was taken away from them. is Thanet Council wanted the market to be out of town which would not work and benefit neither traders nor the public.

“The market must be back on the main street.”

Jim says that ideally Ramsgate City Council could handle it with their town’s technicians taking advantage of stalls and then returning to town to run services such as cleaning and reopening public toilets in Cavendish Street.

Jim has paper petitions in his shop at 30 High Street and also at the Sunrise Café, 15 York Street.

Ramsgate Town and District Councilor Helen Crittenden said she had inquired about the current market situation and understood that a new Thanet council officer was pushing plans forward. She also asked about when the council will advertise for market operators.

Ramsgate’s most successful market was held on the grounds of Dumpton Greyhound Stadium in the 1960s and 1990s and attracted vans from customers from Kent and London.

Dumpton Park Stadium, which opened for greyhound racing in 1928, closed in 1996 after the owners went into receivership. The stadium was demolished in 2001 and the site now houses accommodation.

An update on the Ramsgate market issue has been requested from Thanet Council.

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