I sometimes wonder if Northampton Market is a sore thumb to Northampton Borough Council.
It is as if they feel the livelihoods of market traders are of little importance, and of no concern, so they can thrust a six-day Autumn Fair on to the market without even consulting us beforehand. This is completely unfair.
Let’s face it, the fair on the marketplace takes away much of the usual trade from most stallholders.
Many of our customers are older people who carefully stay away while the fair is on, avoiding the noise and the upsetting of their usual routine.
We graciously went along with two days of the fair for years. We even put up with it when they increased it to three days in more recent times.
There was always the slim chance we could make up a bit of lost trade in the remaining three days after the fair had gone. Now they have declared a six-day fair there is no chance of making up your usual takings.
We all need to make a living, fair operators included, but to impose six days of noise and raucous entertainment on our market is very damaging to trade.
One day we had the fair noise blasting out, a bag-piper busker blowing hard at the same time and fire alarms going off in the buildings at the top of the Square. It was like Bedlam!
If there had been consultation beforehand, we could have taken the week off, even gone away on holiday. But we weren’t told until the last minute, when they said we would get this noisy fair for six consecutive days, like it or not.
This is not good enough.
Market traders have a long history of standing up to unfair councils, our market included. With the local elections coming up next year I would warn them not to upset us, the traders. We see hundreds of voting customers every day, customers who love their market, and are likely to vote out of power those who cause the market harm.
From Eamonn “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick, market trader since 1964