So do you like Wisbech market place to be used for car boot trading? You tell us

07th December 2017

Faced with criticism of allowing car boot sales on the market place, Wisbech town council leader Sam Hoy says the Sunday event is flourishing and is bringing more people into local shops.

She was replying to comments on social media that the newly introduced Wednesday car boot fixture would damage the town’s image.

She said there were always some who “liked to moan but the fact is the market on a Sunday with the boot sale is booming and all shops are reporting increases in footfall”.

Cllr Hoy said the mid week boot sale was introduced as an additional day “given that Wednesday is the quietest day we thought we would try that”.

But Sharon Horne, who stood unsuccessfully as an independent in this year’s local election, described the scenes from Wednesday as “devastating”.

She said what was needed was for councillors to engage in “less prancing around telling us how great they all are and more concentrated effort in bringing the market place than the continued destruction. This is criminal”.

Another critic wrote: “Oh Jesus! That really doesn’t look great – had no idea what was going on (my own fault because I never go to the town centre apart from very, very rarely).”

Another said: “How embarrassing for Wisbech. Come to our historic town and visit our outdoor jumble sale.”

Yet another critic commented that it “looks a bit like Steptoe’s yard.”

Peter Freeman, who took the photos for this article, said: “I have stopped going into town on a Sunday because I couldn’t bear seeing our town looking like this.

“The ‘old girl’ deserves better, now it looks like another day for me to stay away.

“At least it saves me some money, oh wait isn’t the idea to get people up there to spend money, a massive fail there then I would say.”

David Prestidge wrote that it is “bloody dismal – it looks like one of those squalid migrant camps near Calais.

“The sad thing is the people who allow it seriously believe they have Wisbech’s best interests at heart. No wonder the town is the laughing stock of East Anglia.”

Former Labour candidate Dean Reeves wrote that “having previously championed ‘High Street’ since the loss of Co-op/Budgens I now only venture in for haircut, bank and Argos. I am sick of seeing sights like this, and the failure of market traders themselves to think long term.”

A recent report to the town council pointed out that market place trading is now a seven day a week operation.

“Although Thursday, Friday and Saturday remain the busiest days currently, and the level of trading on Saturdays is now at its highest level, increases in trade are being seen on other days of the week,” said the report by clerk Terry Jordan.

He said officers were keen to increase further the level of trading on those days, hence why the Wednesday market had been supplemented with a car boot sale.

“During 2017 the level of trading at the Wisbech Central Sunday Market (which consists of both a traditional market and car boot sellers) has increased considerably and is going from strength to strength,” said Mr Jordan.

He expected this trend to continue.

Highest number of car booters in one day was 31 and the council had generated an extra £6,000 income through car boot trading.

The council was heard that one trader wanted to sell alcohol with hot food but this was refused. Councillors felt that with existing concerns about street drinking and the danger of setting a precedent it should be refused.