Row As June Farmers’ Market Dropped


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It looks like the Farmers’ Market due to take place in June on Winchester High Street is being dropped in favour of Winchester City Council’s Criterium & Cycle Fest which is taking place on the same day – with each side at odds with the other.

The news came in a release initially from Hampshire Farmer’s Markets, with Business Manager Alex Handford telling us that many traders have been left irritated by the move:  “It is with great disappointment Winchester City Council have moved the Winchester Criterium & Cycle Fest from the first Sunday of June to the second Sunday on the day our market falls.

Sadly we have been instructed to cancel our Sunday 11 June market and this is advance notice. The reason given by the council for moving the Criterium & Cycle Fest to the second Sunday is so that the Winchester City Council’s Antique Market can continue to trade uninterrupted on the first Sunday of the month.

To drop even just one market will have a detrimental impact on our primary producers who work tirelessly to bring locally produced food to Winchester twice monthly.”

Farmers' Market

Rachel Waldron of Beechcroft Farm near Winchester is just one of the regular producers at Winchester’s Farmers’ Market. She said of the decision: “The cancellation of the mid June Winchester market has come as a massive blow to us producers. We rely heavily on this market, as do our customers. In business terms it will be very detrimental to us. Many of our customers travel some distance to buy from us at market. We are very disappointed for them.”

Farmers' Market

A spokesperson for Winchester City Council gave this statement to Winchester Today: “Winchester is a busy place with many popular events especially on summer weekends.  The City Council strives to accommodate a wide range of varied activities. 11 June was chosen as the date for the Winchester Criterium and Cyclefest 2017 to avoid other large events in the city planned for 4 June – ‘Race for Life’ and events planned by Winchester Cathedral and Hampshire County Council. 

“Road closures needed for the cycle event mean it is not practical to hold the farmers’ market at the same time.  The Antiques Market was cancelled to allow for the Criterium on a previous occasion. Hampshire Farmers’ Market was informed of the Criterium date in August 2016 and alternative dates have been offered.  We are sorry that none of these is considered suitable.”

That seems at odds with Alex Handford’s view of events: “I received an email from WCC on the 5 September 2016 regarding Sunday 11 June 2017 and that there was the possibility the Criterium Cycle race could be moved.  However I did not receive a response to a number of emails I subsequently sent on this subject to WCC.

“My initial question asked, was why had the Criterium been moved from being historically on the first Sunday of June to the second.  I received our trading licence for 2017 to hold 23 markets and assumed we would trade as usual as we have done for 18 years on the first Sunday in June, as there was no reference in the licence to suggest otherwise. I received an apologetic email from WCC on 23 March 2017 for not responding to my email of 5 September – basically saying it was a done deal.”

Farmers' Market

The Farmer’s Market organisers have told Winchester Today that market dates throughout the rest of this month and May remain uninterrupted on 30th April and 14th and 28th May, 9am to 2pm. You can find which producers will be on the High Street by going to this website