'What about us?' - trader's upset after businesses omitted from Honiton's Gate to Plate event
PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 July 2018
A Honiton trader has criticised organisers of this year's Gate to Plate event after claiming her and other businesses were shunned from the event.
Debra Revell, of The Curtain Trader in High Street, said she and fellow retailers east of High Street were never told anything about the events planned on the day, or even asked to be included.
The day has been hailed a great success after the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall greeted hundreds of residents and sampled wares from food and drink retailers at the festival.
However, Ms Revell said the way the festival was staged – with High Street being sealed off between the junctions with New Street and Dowell Street to accommodate the stalls – left her and others ‘looking on from a distance’ from their shop doorways.
She added: “Having spoken to many of our fellow retailers, we were never told anything about the events planned or asked to be included in any way.
“How can a local food festival completely ignore half the High Street, including some of the very best long established food businesses we have here every day?
“We were left looking on from a distance from our empty shop doorways.
“No retailer I spoke to had a good day’s trade.”
East Devon District Council, which organised the event with Honiton Town Council and Taste of the West, said the event was not meant to focus on the town’s shops.
A spokesman added: “The Gate to Plate Event was focused on promoting the best food and craft producers in our area, not general retail, which is well represented in the High Street.
“The publicity promoting the event brought in many thousands of extra visitors to the town so we are happy that there were good communications surrounding the event.
“However, any feedback that we receive from traders is most welcome and their comments will be fed into the de-brief event for future assessment.”
However, Ms Revell said the organisers should be including all of the traders in Honiton – and not a ‘privileged few’.
She added: “We all pay handsomely to trade in the town and we should all have equal treatment.”