Warning that Thornbury market move to car park will cause chaos

A MARKET in Thornbury has been given the go-ahead to temporarily relocate onto a town centre car park – despite warnings it will cause “chaos”.

The monthly Artisan Food, Craft and Gift Market will be held in St Mary Street car park while major roadworks take place in the High Street.

South Gloucestershire Council’s licensing committee approved the move despite warnings that it was the main car park for the shopping centre, NHS walk-in centre – and that works on nearby Rock Street car park had yet to be finished.

The market’s organiser said many small independent businesses relied on the market and it had to find a home while the High Street was unavailable.

Four residents lodged objections to the plans to relocate the market, due to concerns about the loss of spaces in the car park.

But the market organisers have promised to leave some spaces free, including for disabled drivers and people going to the NHS walk-in centre.

The market is run by Green Top Events, a Welsh company which has now been granted a street trading licence from South Gloucestershire Council to use St Mary Street car park.

The council’s licensing sub-committee gave their approval during a hearing on April 21.

Town councillor Fiona Deas told the meeting: “We really like the Green Top event and in the High Street – it’s been extremely successful.

“However, if they take up St Mary Street car park, the electric charging bays will be no longer accessible.

“Also, it’s the main car park for the St Mary Centre, and in there is the NHS walk-in centre.

“The Rock Street car park is down to half [capacity].

“To also not have Rock Street car park, it will cause chaos, I think, in Thornbury.

“It will affect local businesses paying business rates. I don’t think the market will be very successful if nobody can park anywhere.”

The Rock Street car park is being redeveloped by the council alongside the major changes to the High Street. Works are scheduled to be completed there in May, while the works to the High Street are expected to last another 10 months.

Gareth O’Sullivan, managing director of Green Top Events, said: “We’ve got a lot of small businesses who are relying on this market.

“We’ve cut the numbers back so we don’t take up as much parking.

“We tend to get 30 to 40 traders but we’ve cut this down to 22 for the first one.

“The need for the market is there, and residents and customers are constantly messaging us – they want us back twice a month again.

“Hopefully once the High Street is done we can look at that.

“If we stopped the market altogether, it would be so hard to build it back up.

“We need the market to continue. It’s going to be one Saturday a month, between 7am for set up until 4.30pm once we’re gone.

“I can understand that you’re going to lose car parking spots, but at the same time, to lose the market altogether, I think would be a lot worse. A lot of small independent businesses are relying on this market.”

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service