Wiltshire Publications

Issue 453 – weekly market launched at last

AFTER months of hold ups and delays Westbury now has a weekly market, at the Labour Club’s Paragon Hall.

Laurence Williams first submitted an application for a weekly market in the Market Place in July, but ran into numerous problems.
On Thursday 14th January the first market was held at the hall, despite many traders being unable to make it because of the heavy snow. Stalls selling fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, organic artisan bread, homemade sweets and household goods were set up both inside and outside the Paragon Hall.
When the full complement of 15 traders are able to attend, there will also be stalls selling fresh meat, clothing, jewellery and even musical instruments.
Laurence said, “I’m glad it’s finally up and running. We’ve got a great location here right by the free cark park and the High Street and now we’ve just got to get the word out and hope it takes off. The people of Westbury have been very supportive of a market all along and the traders want it here as well.”
When Laurence initially applied to hold a market the town council objected to the proposed outlay, saying it used up too much parking space in the Market Place, although they welcomed the idea of a market.
When a redesigned layout was considered, it ran foul of Wiltshire Council regulations stating that stalls couldn’t be within three metres of a shop front, which would restrict the market to a handful of stalls
Laurence said, “It was getting worse and worse and worse. Wiltshire Council did try and pull out all the stops but there was no getting around the rules and regulations. We would have been restricted to five or six stalls and I didn’t want to let people down, it’s been going on for four or five months now. I decided to look at other locations and when I called the Labour Club they were over the moon.”
Laurence also runs a weekly market in Melksham which recently started trading, and has proved successful. He’s hoping that the same will happen in Westbury.
Mayor of Westbury, cllr Sue Ezra has welcomed the market to the town. She said, “It’s good news. It’ll hopefully bring people into the town and they’ll use the shops on the High Street as well.
“We would have liked it in the Market Place but because we can’t get round Wiltshire Council this is a good location, in the centre of town.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be very successful.”