Echo journalist John Georghan has a detailed report in the Echo about having a continental market in Rayleigh:
PLANS to shut the top of Rayleigh High Street to traffic for a continental market have been given the go-ahead.
But some councillors have expressed anger at the implications of closing the portion of road to traffic for several days at a time.
Councillor Terry Livings (Con, Lodge), who voted to instead hold the market at the Mill Arts Centre, in Bellingham Lane, even branded members who supported the High Street option as ?selfish?.
He said: ?I notice all the councillors in favour of this don?t use public transport. I think it?s a very selfish attitude.
?Some of us still need to use public transport and I would be against closure of the High Street on the grounds of disruption to public transport and services needed to get up there.
?It?s fine if you?re sitting in your car, but lots of disabled people would find it very difficult.?
Rayleigh Town Council has been trying to find a suitable location for the market, which would be held over a weekend in October.
On Wednesday evening, members of Rochford District Council?s west area committee decided the High Street would be better than the car park at the Mill, because it is in the town centre. Town chairman Dave Sperring said: ?Closing the top end of the High Street would be a better option.
?They want the market in the middle of the town, otherwise it wouldn?t really work.?
Councillor Simon Smith (Con, Whitehouse) said: ?It?s something that?s got to happen. The High Street was made for markets.?
Councillor Chris Black (Lib Dem, Downhall and Rawreth) added: ?If you are having a continental market, you draw people into the town who wouldn?t normally come here. Let?s have every car-parking space available if possible. I?m not in favour of the pedestrianisation of the High Street permanently but, as a one-off measure, I would support it.?
The plan now needs the support of the police and Essex County Council highways department.
Essex County Council highways district engineer Lyn Harvey warned closure would be disruptive because of the need to put up signs and move bus stops.
It’s becoming almost unusual to have a proper debate at a district council meeting nowadays!
It is great to see we will pull out all the stops to shut down the high street for a continental Market ,but does not Charity start at home.? With shopkeepers in Rayleigh already struggling will some of the products on sale in the market not take trade away from shops that are supporting our depleated high street 365 days a year.If I really want continental products they can easily be purchased off of the internet.
It’s a good question Martin, and one that was asked at the meeting.
The answer we were given is that the Rayleigh Chamber of Trade are fully behind this. They see it as something that will draw people into the town, and on balance benefit the existing shops.
As you say, you would otherwise buy this stuff over the internet. The only shop I can think that sells this kind of quality deli stuff is Byfords; if people who normally never visit Rayleigh High Street come here for the market they are likely to see Byfords – and some of them might become long-term customers.