Honiton Farmers' Market to close

HONITON Farmers Market is to fold – just short of its 10th anniversary.

HONITON Farmers' Market is to fold - just short of its 10th anniversary.

The last market will take place outside St Paul's Church tomorrow (Thursday).

A decline in stallholders and stiff competition from larger weekly markets has been blamed for the market's demise.

The recession has also seen consumers revert to supermarket shopping. Market co-ordinator Terry Farebrother told the Herald that the monthly market had survived on cash from reserves for the past 18 months.

Accounts, circulated to all remaining stallholders earlier this month, show the balance in the account is now just �21.47 - meaning the market cannot continue.

Mr Farebrother issued a clarion call for support last year, urging people to use the market or risk losing it.

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"Having averaged 12 traders per month in 2007 and 10 traders in 2008, so far this year we have dropped to an average of just seven traders," he said.

"During the last 18 months, we have only broken even twice and have been living off our reserves for some time.

"We need at least 12 producers attending each month to show a small profit."

At the last three markets, the number of stallholders fell to an average of just five."

Mr Farebrother was hoping to continue the markets until Christmas or even its 10th anniversary in March next year, but lack of funds and support means that is not now possible.

Honiton Town Council, which has taken over responsibility for Honiton's twice weekly street market, is to liaise with producers to see if they can be incorporated into the general market held on Tuesdays.

Mr Farebrother has urged traders to support tomorrow's last market.

"It would be good to have a full attendance, just to wave the flag for local produce," he said.