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Passions high over market saga

PUBLISHED: 13:52 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:30 07 July 2010

IT has already caused heated debates, and councillors' passions were raised again when discussing the ongoing saga of the future of Dereham market.

The problem began last month when town councillor Michael Fanthorpe said the market could die unless urgent action was taken.

IT has already caused heated debates, and councillors' passions were raised again when discussing the ongoing saga of the future of Dereham market.

The problem began last month when town councillor Michael Fanthorpe said the market could die unless urgent action was taken.

Mayor John Gretton retaliated by sending a letter to market traders saying the Friday event was thriving and Mr Fanthorpe's comments had been “misleading.”

And on Tuesday last week, the first time the town council was together since the comments were made, the market was once again the hot topic of conversation.

Mr Fanthorpe said: “I take exception that you went around telling people 'ignore him, it's just the opinion of an individual, we don't listen to him.'

“Whether you like it or not there aren't as many people coming and we need to recognise that. I suggested a difference approach instead of the same old putting out a few leaflets and look how it gets treated.

“Now I've had people coming up to me saying I'm single-handedly trying to shut the market down.”

Mr Gretton replied: “The reporting in the press, while quite accurate, did give a negative view of the market stalls. I felt I needed to reassure market traders.”

And Robin Goreham said: “I would like to see a copy of this letter. If you signed it as the mayor then you needed to seek our approval first, which you didn't.

“If you signed it as a town councillor then all you were doing is expressing an opinion which Michael did, so how can you criticise him for it?”

Mr Gretton said he could not remember how he had signed it and Philip Duigan moved the meeting on by saying “we shouldn't get bogged down in who said what. We need to get things back on track in the market place with events and stalls being held there.”

Councillors then discussed ways in which to boost the number of stalls and people visiting the town on market day, with Mr Fanthorpe repeating his idea of allowing additional car boot-style stalls.

But Linda Monument said: “We don't want 3,000 people in the market town doing all sorts of things. We want a traditional market with a few other things and we want it to stay that way.”

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