Broadstairs Christmas market ordered to shut down by Public Health

The market was ordered to close Photo Christine Tongue

A Broadstairs Christmas Market sited on Victoria Parade has packed up two days early after being told to close by Public Health (via Kent County Council).

The market, which opened on Thursday, was due to run until tomorrow evening but traders have been closing down their stalls today (December 12) and are expected to be clear from site by lunchtime.

The market is run by Zoom Events which currently hosts approximately 50 events per year, predominantly across the Midlands and South East England.

Photo Christine Tongue

The business is led by founders Paul and Lesley Kennedy with event formats including Food & Drink Festivals, Craft Beer Festivals, World Village Markets and Christmas Fayres.

The company say they gained the proper permissions from Thanet council and had all covid-secure measures requested in place. A council inspector added a request for track and trace which was introduced immediately.

However, last night they say they were informed Public Health England was ordering the market be closed.

Traders said there had been complaints lodged about the market taking place and another said there had been a lack of customers.

The staging of the market had split local opinion with concerns around covid and the loss of trade to local businesses raised. There were also complaints that the location was too narrow to allow for proper distancing.

Mr Kennedy confirmed Public Health England had advised the market closure with Kent County Council then acting on that requirement.

He added: “It was down to the number of covid cases in the area, they were concerned.

“We were due to go to Deal next week but have taken the decision ourselves to cancel that because rates are increasing.

“We do have other projects and events lined up and do work a lot in Kent. We would like to do more in Thanet and look forward to better times.”

Broadstairs councillor Ruth Bailey added: “I have been to speak to the organisers again this morning. I was told that a complaint, or complaints, had been made by residents directly to Public Health England which had caused the market to be closed. The traders are naturally upset at the enforced closure but the organisers seemed to remain quite philosophical and say they hope to be back next year.

“As a ward councillor I have been disappointed with the lack of information about both the staging and the closing of this event. I know from my mailbag that local residents have been divided on whether this market should have taken place at all and I have spent all week endeavouring to seek more information from TDC.

“I hope that anyone who was planning to attend the market will still come and spend their money in the town, as a reminder, Crofts Place car park is free today and next Saturday in addition to St Peter’s Park Road car park which is free every Saturday.”

Thanet council said the Broadstairs Christmas market has been planned for a considerable time and permission was granted by TDC prior to the last national lockdown, when the area was Tier 1 ‘Medium Alert’.

Prior to permission being granted the organisers were involved in the event safety advisory process working with all statutory agencies regarding the safety of the event.

When Thanet entered Tier 3 ‘very high alert’, the national guidance on outdoor Christmas markets was that they could continue if they are covid compliant.

The organisers were required to provide an updated risk assessment for Kent public health to consider.

44 Comments

    • Who are the grumps who reported the market. The market seemed to be following safe guidelines and felt safer than shopping in some of the local supermarkets.

    • Why not? It was set as a 1 way system and people were counted in and out. There was also hand sanitizer regular intervals and all who entered had to log into track trace. Also it was outside! If going to complain about something then make sure you talk sense!! Only reason it should have been stopped is because none are local traders!!!
      Its people like you that ruin it for everyone else because got nothing better to do than ruin it for others! Pri**

      • David, calm down, calm down, I totally agree with David, but just because you have a different opinion doesn’t mean you are either right or wrong.

        He is allowed to say what he wants.

    • What a load of crap. The safest place we have had for 9 months in thanet! Farmers market in Cliftonville was open and indoor market open at petticoat Lane!! hello Big Tescos and Asda at Westwood 🤔🤔🤔

  1. Not surprised at the closure ..
    Common sense dictates that it should never have been set up, in the face of the Pandemic, with the area being one of the most prolific danger zones ..
    Let’s hope that next year, we will all be able to enjoy the Christmas Market without the fear of infection…

  2. Peter behave yourself, No what I meant was Mel the lovely cleaning lady that does my cleaning, ( She is excellent by the way if you need a reliable cleaner) she noticed the market was up and running, some of the stall holders had come from Cornwall so Mel told me.

    • Just teasing of course.

      Personally, if run properly with social distancing, I’d feel safer at an outdoors market than I would in a supermarket.

  3. The traders who were lured into this disaster must be furious. I dont know anyone in Broadstairs who thought it was a good idea!

    • I thought that was strange too! Also wondering why some people are pixelated out to protect their identities yet others aren’t.

  4. Good, it should never be allowed to be set up. we are in tier three for goodness sake. what don’t people get about that? this is not just going to go away unless people start doing as they are asked.

  5. How was this given permission in the first instance?

    Gormless people issuing their permission, and advising stall holders it would be safe, when there is a pandemic ongoing, they obviously hadn’t heard about it.

    • The problem is a government saying that Covid recognises Christmas and will not travel about then so for five days we can relax the rules. No wonder people are confused

      • Elaine, I think you are exactly right, every stage of this pandemic has been worrying, but also very confusing, with conflicting information from Boris and his team.

        People are very confused over just about everything, I’m just glad it’s Thursday today.

        • Yes, who knows what they can and can do now?

          I suspect in the new year we will be hearing about lockdown 12A, tier 62, and you can only catch it if you wear something blue on a Tuesday, or red on a Wednesday.

          Some people (like myself), are still confused as to what you can and can’t do for Christmas, I will be staying at home social distancing, and obviously watching “Home Alone”

          • They just make it up as they go along, people can fly where they like-Tom Moore is I read currently jetting off to Barbados, yet most people cannot go down the pub or as we see here gather in an outdoors space. They keep showing one place on the local news where one pub is allowed to stay open, yet the one a few hundred yards or so away has to stay closed.

  6. My heart bleeds for the (quite frankly) idiots who jetted off abroad for a sunny holiday, in the middle of a pandemic, then found out that they would have to quarantine for two weeks when they came back!
    My heart would bleed even more if I thought that more than 1 in 5 actually would obey the rules and self isolate as required!

  7. I went over to market on Thursday ,well run and one way system in place , everyone wore masks including the traders , not crowded so social distance no problem ,c l l r Bailey I shopped in broadstairs too which I would not have done had it not been for the market

    • There was a proper manned entrance with sanitiser and notices about keeping distance. The only thing I noticed was that people were coming in the exit even though it was supposed to be a one way route and the exit wasn’t manned to stop people doing it. But I felt safer there than an indoor shop and everyone was wearing a mask when I walked through and certainly far less people than a supermarket.

  8. There was more room on the Parade than around the pavements where all the shops are. Clear signage of the one way system past the stalls, and just about everybody was wearing a face-mask even though it was outdoors. What a pity for all the good traders, trying to earn a living.

    • While I agree and conform where possible to all the social distancing, and all the other measures in place, I do think it is quite comical how business are operating. For example, at Westwood Tesco, and Asda, there are separate entrance and exits in place, and the same at Wetherspoons Ramsgate (when open), so that people do not pass by each other, just like a one-way system, appears to work quite well. But, once inside you are free to do as you wish, criss-cross in front of others, walk side by side, there are no restrictions, so therefore an absolutely pointless entry system.

  9. I visited it yesterday, It was very well organised and at least a bit of cheer, I also went to The Range rammed with everyone on top if each other, Tesco much the same in fact everywhere else seemed to be bustling and vagualy following the rules so an outdoor non alcohol outdoor event with takaway food should be no problem. Anyone who complained should have stay away from there, and all shops if they are concerned.

  10. This needed closing down. Please have some sense. The amount of people still going into peoples houses is intense. And opening up households for Christmas is rediculous. This will set the nhs back weeks after new year. 😭

  11. How embarrassing for Thanet Council. Their events team and senior managers said it was OK and then they were overruled and reprimanded like a naughty child.

    Incompetent.

  12. Just a thought in the future TDC. Let local business have a stall on the Xmas markets rather than taking in corporate organises. Probably less money for the council but I thought we were supporting for our local business. This has backfired.

  13. Absolute madness to allow it in these current circumstances. Even without Covid, this is a promenade, where people should be able to enjoy their walks, & the view, without commerce rearing it’s head. If TDC allow it in future years, put it on the green, where the stalls usually are in organised events. If people want to sell, & others want to shop, then fine, just don’t spoil what for many, is the simple, free pleasure of exercise along the sea front.

  14. The turning of the Broadstairs Christmas tree lights event has over the years had local market traders and this was cancelled as with the Broadstairs fireworks, and not sure if the food event continued this year, so how on earth was outside traders allowed to set up this Market?

  15. It seems a lack of communication between the various parties granting permission for this event. In particular when the volunteers had already been notified that next year’s Eastwr Market has already been cancelled

  16. All for a virus with a 99.7 per cent plus survival rate where 10,000 caught covid in hospitals, according to a Daily Telegraph investigation based on NHS figures. Would some rather buy chemical laden cheap products from China in some of our soul-less big stores with little natural air flow or light – or shop in the healthy fresh sea air with plenty of space and good vibes? The hypocrisy is stunning and very sad.

    • There’s a not dissimilar outdoor food court in whitefriars at canterbury , the only difference would probably be that there were no namby pamby’s complaining to PHE.
      Perhaps the same complainant should go tovthe supermarkets and report on those not wearing masks indoors, using a shopping trip as a family outing whilst casually browsing every aisle, no social distancing etc etc.
      Will such events take place in the future, maybe not if those running such businesses don’t survive.

  17. As an ex resident of Broadstairs and trader within the town I am sad to read that nothing has changed by way of negativity. Over many years I watched my husband and his fellow Rotarians organise events for the residents and visitors to the town including the Seafront Fayre which was greeted with derision. I now live in North Yorkshire enjoy a weekly market in the town square which has been welcomed by all their customers notwithstanding that the main thoroughfare for vehicles is closed for one day each week. In the present climate please extend kindness to your fellow man including traders and organisers of events

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