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Swanley Council votes against plans for Christmas Eve market
THERE will be no Christmas Eve market in Swanley this year if town councillors get their way.
With Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday, the town’s regular Wednesday market will not go ahead and operators Wendy Fair Markets have proposed to hold it on Christmas Eve instead.
But when asked by Sevenoaks District Council to vote on the proposal, Swanley Town councillors almost unanimously rejected the plan at a full council meeting last Wednesday (November 28).
They say the lack of available district council street cleaners on Christmas Eve has led to fears the town centre will be left littered in rubbish on Christmas morning.
Labour group leader and St Mary’s ward Councillor Mark Fittock opposed the plans both as a Swanley Town councillor and a Sevenoaks District councillor.
He told News Shopper: "Everybody complains about rubbish in the town centre.
"It’s particularly challenging when the market shuts because there’s so much waste and litter left behind by traders.
"It could leave the town in a terrible state and I can’t see any advantage to it."
Labour’s Janet Sargeant was the only Swanley Town councillor to vote in favour of a market on December 24.
The White Oak ward councillor says she agreed for the same operator to run a Christmas Eve market in 2007 when the day itself also fell on Wednesday.
She explained: "They had a large skip set up and a mechanical sweeper came in.
"I went down at six o’clock on Christmas Eve and I couldn’t have asked for it any cleaner.
"If they had left my town in a state then I wouldn’t have supported it this time."
A spokeswoman for Sevenoaks District Council said: "We are considering holding a Christmas market in Swanley this year, which will be decided this week."
Sevenoaks District Council is in the process of replacing Wendy Fair Markets as Swanley's market operator after the company went into liquidation in August, owing the council £74,000.