Traders have vowed to find a solution after a bid to turn part of a Fylde town centre into a mini-Brick Lane Sunday market was refused at the first hurdle.
Organisers of the proposed St Annes Vintage Market were left shocked when the idea was turned down by Fylde Council’s Public Protection Committee.
It had been hoped that the market, planned for Sundays in Back St Annes Road West, could be held monthly initially from this summer with a view to it becoming a weekly feature – with the potential to attract hundreds of visitors.
But councillors decided to dismiss the idea on health, safety and access grounds, pointing out they were not against the market in principle.
Now, the business owners who initiated the market idea has accused the council of ‘an entire lack of foresight’ and that it should be doing more to encourage new ideas.
Meanwhile, St Annes Chamber of Trade, which backed the idea from the start, has pledged to help them find a way forward.
Melanie Jackson and Jayne Callaghan of The Attik in Orchard Road had felt the market in an area of town which is already home to the St Annes Arts Trail, would help provide a big boost to the Fylde economy.
A group of traders, calling themselves the Friends of Back St Annes Road West, was set up to co-ordinate plans for the market.
“Anything that can help revitalise St Annes and attract new visitors has to be encouraged and it is important we find a way forward,” said Arnold Sumner, co-ordinator of the Chamber of Trade, who will discuss the issue as a priority at its meeting tonight.
“This market was a great idea which would have brought a new and exciting feature to a part of town which is often overlooked by visitors and the traders already situated there were really keen to get it going.
“We look forward to a good discussion of the situation following the council’s decision.”
Melanie and Jayne said: “We were disappointed but not surprised by the decision, which we feel shows an entire lack of foresight on the council’s part.
“If there are obstacles, the council should be helping us find a way around them rather than just turning it down on what we feel are spurious grounds of health and safety.
“We have taken a lot of time out of our business to prepare the plans for this and we really don’t know where to go from here.
“We felt it would be good for St Annes and other venues are no use as the whole idea was to base it within the St Annes Art Trail.
“All we want to do is boost business for the town but new ideas aren’t being given enough encouragement.”
A Fylde Council spokesman said: “Councillors considered a request by the Friends of Back West Art Trail to redesignate Back St Annes Road West as a trading street.
“They wanted to run an occasional ‘Brick Lane’-style vintage market on the street but there were concerns from the highways authority about access for residents.
“There are garages and hard-standing for parking and the owners would need to be able to get in and out.
“The street is not designated as a trading street because of this and also because of the need for emergency access, although trading is allowed on other nearby streets.
“We’re not against the market in principle and there is consent for nearby St Annes Square and Wood Street car park. The Friends could apply for these other streets if they choose.”
Tonight’s meeting of the Chamber of Trade is at the Lindum Hotel, South Promenade, St Annes, starting at 6.30pm and all traders and interested parties are welcome to attend.