Cliftonville Farmers’ Market returns to celebrate 20th year – but in a new ‘one-off’ venue

Cliftonville Farmers' Market at its former home Photo John Horton

Cliftonville Farmers’ Market will return this month to celebrate its 20th anniversary but there is a change of venue,

The market will run on the Walpole green in Palm Bay Avenue, near the Coastguard station, this Sunday (September 26) from 10am to 1pm.

The one-off event has been given permission by Thanet council.

The market, will round off the day with a concert featuring Brad Pittance and The Pirates. It was originally planned for the Oval Bandstand, in memory of Keith Chadband, who organised and ran all the band concerts for 21 years.

Volunteers will be manning the concert and Brad will be playing from 2pm-4pm.

For the past almost two decades Cliftonville Farmers Market has taken place at The Oval Lawns and Bandstand. But last month the event was cancelled by the new site owners who said they had not been provided with the information needed to issue a market operator’s license.

The freehold for the Oval Bandstand and Lawns in Cliftonville officially transferred to GRASS Cliftonville CIC from the local authority in July.

The site had also been the setting for the volunteer-led farmers market which was established by June Chadband and her late husband Keith and Cliftonville Residents Association (CRA) in September 2001.

The farmers’ market says it is now looking for a new home despite having had the necessary Public Liability Insurance and risk assessments and hygiene ratings for food producers.

June said: “Little did we realise when we held our first market in September 2001, with just six stalls, that we would still be here 20 years later. We are the third oldest farmers’ market in Kent.

“We have won nine prestigious awards along the way, three Pride in Thanet Awards, four for Produced in Kent’s Best Farmers’ Market  and two with Kent Life Food & Drink Awards, ‘Farmers’ Market of the Year’ the last being in 2019 before the pandemic.

Cliftonville Farmers Market, left to right Oliver Gardner, Wally Chantler and Nick Heasman

“It has taken place through, wind, storm, and pandemic and, until August this year, had only been cancelled twice through inclement weather.

“It very nearly did not survive the deluge of paperwork, rules and regulations, threatening solicitor’s letter, threat of an injunction and cancellation of the August market,  imposed by new landlords GRASS Cliftonville CIC.

“We are still, in effect, ‘homeless’ and hoping that Thanet council will find us a new site for the future continuation of our very popular market It is quite a milestone for a community group of volunteers to reach this special anniversary.”

Over the two decades the market has attracted crowds of visitors, including some from the ‘celebrity’ world.

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June said: “We had Paul Hollywood’s bread sold at the market with sometimes Paul himself selling it. Timothy Spall, television and film star, ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ and Mr.Turner, to name a few, visited on a few occasions with his mother who lived in the flats opposite.

“Pete Doherty, from The Libertines, has also shopped at the market.”

The event has become a family and stalwart volunteer effort.

June Chadband with her son Matthew and grandsons Callum and Jordan Photo John Horton

June said: “When my late husband Keith, who was the CRA’s Chairman until his death, founded the market with me and Cliftonville Residents Association, we did not have any grandchildren.

“Now, our two 19 year olds and 16 year old, all students, help with our sons and Gary to prepare the market each month and I even have the two youngest – 11 and 9 – ready to help when they are older.

“We could not run the market without their help and we thank them. We would also like to thank Maureen and Hazel, committee members, who are there every market day to give assistance.

“I personally, would like to thank Ann Smith, CRA treasurer, who has never been involved with the market, but has stepped up to give support to me over the last 10 weeks. We would also like to thank all our excellent stallholders who have offered help.

“Lynda Howard, from Never Mind the Cupcakes, set up all three of our social media sites and ran them until last year and we thank her for all her support. Emma, of Real Deal Roasters, now runs Facebook and Instagram and Daran, Stour Valley Game, runs twitter. Freddie, Britalians Vegan, is our admin officer and they are all volunteers.

“We also thank all the loyal shoppers, for all their support over the 20 years. It is greatly appreciated by the artisans and small businesses.

“And Cllr Cedric Towning’s intervention has been a driving force with Thanet council and the events team and I am sure it has helped with permission for Sunday. He really is the CRA’s ‘knight in shining armour.’

“I don’t know what the future holds for us now, but I am hopeful that TDC, with whom we always before the asset transfer had a very amicable working relationship with, will be able to find us a new permanent site for our very popular market.”

June said they are fully covered to run the market at any site with Public Liability Insurance for £10 million for the market, which covers volunteers, and all stallholders having PLI for £5 million and, for those that prepare food, a hygiene rating issued by their authorities.

She added: “We have a risk assessment for the market and we follow all guidelines set out by Kent Farmers’ Market Association who we are affiliated to.

“For those unaware, it was the CRA and the late Keith Chadband, who almost single handed, accessed the funding of £195,000 for the replacement bandstand in 2006.

“We chose the design at committee of the existing bandstand, out of the three designs presented to us. It was also the CRA who were instrumental in the replacement of the existing kiosk when the old wooden one fell into disrepair and it was the CRA who also helped with accessing funding for the shutters on the toilet block.

“In the 25 years of our tenure, we held over 300 concerts, week long festivals, classic car shows, craft markets, Cliftonville in Colour competitions, and over 230 farmers’ markets.

“Thank you all, for supporting our events over the years, and for the support over the last 10 weeks. It has been overwhelming and greatly appreciated.”


  1. bored of this farmers market non-news saga! why didn’t they just get the paperwork together and try and collaborate, working with the new owners just all sounds like sour grapes from the farmers market in this article.

  2. Fantastic news.there loss is your gain as you won’t have to answer to grass.good luck cliftonville farmers market.

  3. Looking forward to returning this Sunday. June and the team have worked so hard in gettinga venue for the markets 20th birthday.
    I really hope TDC helps with finding the market a new permanent home.

  4. Congratulations on reaching this milestone. It is a fantastic market run so professionally by a community
    group. I do hope TDC finds you a new home. You all deserve it!

  5. Incredible news for everyone including the fantastic voluntary management, the extremely loyal customers and all the quality stall holders
    Bessborough Farm

  6. 👏👏👏👏 to Cllr Towning for lobbying TDC to allow the Market to take place, to the CRA, June, the CRA committee, officers, volunteers & members for their determination to ensure the 20th anniversary could be celebrated. Happy shopping Sunday!

  7. I’d like to know why GRASS won’t let them hold the market at the bandstand. I thought it had been purchased for events for the community and this Farmers Market has certainly proved it is used by the local community over the past 20 years. And without the Chadbands’ restoration of bandstand and events, it would not have been such an attractive asset for GRASS.

    • I’m not sure but I think it is something to do with GRASS being a not-for-profit organisation and the farmer’s market is profit-making thus creating a conflict of interest.

  8. Well done on keeping this fantastic community ever full of events and farmers markets over the past couple of decades. There are lessons to be learnt when newbies take over a patch and start throwing their weight about. Getting rid of a community favourite was a big mistake but lets hope they learn their lesson before they turn the community against them. The Oval and surrounding grass area is still loved by the community, show them that you care and start organising free events for them which have been traditional. That is all the community wishes. Don’t alienate them please GRASS.

  9. Good news. TDC should now find a permanent home for the market as it’s a valuable community asset and making this work would cost far less than the town deal’s questionable millions.

  10. Congratulations for not only the market reaching it’s ’20th’ but everything else that you achieved for the community with the funding for the existing bandstand & kiosk and all the lovely family friendly bands that you put on. I do hope you find a new permanent home for what is without doubt a superb farmers market run in a very professional way, worthy of all it’s awards
    I can’t wait until Sunday to buy all my goodies.

  11. With a 20 year history this event clearly doesn’t have a safety issue and has been a wonderful addition to Thanet’s attractions. I find it sad that Jobsworths have made it difficult for the event to run!

  12. How this market is still going is beyond me ! The produce is very expensive and amateur at best and very little that you can actually buy for your weekly shop, it lacks the product creativity and variety of other professionally run markets like Deal.
    If I was a stall holder I would distance myself from these organisers of the market as this article does not paint them in a particularly pleasant light. I think what we are seeing in this turn of events is that TDC don’t want to work with this organisation as highlighted by the ‘one off’. This article is nothing but an opportunity for the organisers to blame everyone else for their own short comings and continue a narrative to try and put pressure on the council it’s embarrassing and unprofessional.

    • I am a stall holder, attending both Cliftonville and Deal markets. They are both great markets and very professionally run. June takes great care in all the details and kept it open during covid, something that many of the local residents appreciated.
      We do not blame anyone, we could not work with GRASS as their fees were too high. We have simply moved on and found a new location, there is no problem

  13. Appalling, and possibly illegal, behaviour from GRASS robbing us all of a community asset. If you just want to hire the bare-bones bandstand they want a grand. Effectively pricing it out for local organisers.
    Not impressed by the councillor who mirrored GRASS’ nonsense reasons, nor how difficult TDC has made it either.

  14. June is amazing with the money from the market she takes us all to the theatre to London, brings us for coffee morning and dinners it’s just wonderful we have a fabulous time ! It will be a real shame to lose the market cause all the money gets put into June jaunts for her friends and we all have a lovely time been taken away ! One time she did so well with the market she took her friends on a trip abroad ! We haven’t had a committee meeting in a very long time but June loves planning trips!

    • Mrs M you do know that you have just defamed Mrs Chadband in your childish comment, so maybe yoi will be receiving a solicitors letter for defamation of character

    • Can we have your real name Mrs M?? Your comment is clearly a smear on Mrs chadband.
      Sarcastic to say the least, legal action is needed as someone already has pointed out.
      Think Thanet News need to look at this comment!!

  15. Mrs M – I do hope that you are wrong in what you have written. It would be appalling if profits from the market were used by June to take friends on outings. If she is going to give the money away, it should be to charitable causes. I know someone who goes on the June’s Jaunts outings to London, holidays etc and she pays for them.

    • The money from the Farners’ Market is banked in the CRA account. It is used for replacement of gazebos as they get damaged with the weather, it also pays for our signs, our F.M postcards & publicity. We also donate to charitable causes £3,000 in the last year. We made a donation to the Cheerful Sparrows, we sponsored an under 11 football team, gave £1,500 to GRASS.
      Regarding the trips, everybody including myself, pay for fheir own.
      To imply otherwise is not only a slur on my character but is defamotary.
      It was brought to my notice recently by two members of the public that GRASS had said something similar on Instagram and they even sent me the screenshot. I will be taking advice on the comments made by Mrs. M hiding behind a pseudonym. This person has to supply their email to make a comment and I will be asking for access to it.
      What was supposed to be an article about a special community event has once again turned into a hurtful attack on the CRA and particularly on me.
      For the record Mrs M we held our AGM on August 5th 2021. We are a proper constituted residents association of 25 years standing.
      Hope to see some of you on Sunday.

      • Just ignore them June, trolls are not worth worrying about. You work for the community and CRA is non profit making. Some people are just jealous. Seek legal advice but don’t worry about them!!
        Let’s look forward to Sunday and celebrate 20 years of Cliftonville Farmers Market 😀

  16. I think that’s unfair to say Mrs M was defaming I thought it was supportive Mrs Chadband talked about this in isle of Thanet article which I read a couple of weeks ago “ In December 2001 June started organising trips to the theatre, stately homes, opera, ballet, concerts and holidays for the community. All the trips are not for profit and give members a chance to visit venues at a greatly reduced price. So the reduce rate must be subsided by the market? June said: “In 2019 we held 32 events and hosted two holidays. The trips are open to Friends of the CRA. We have been to Venice, Prague, Tuscany, Amsterdam, Belfast, Scotland and many places in the UK and Wales.

    • The reduced rate is because of a group booking.The more in a group the better the rate. Of course it is not subsidised by anyone and certainly not by the CRA or the Farmers’ Market.
      I have just reread the article and nowhere does it say they are subsidised by anybody.
      It is a greatly reduced GROUP BOOKING

  17. Rest easy Mrs M ( not surprised you’re hiding your full name) If you’ve ever been on a’June’s Jaunt’ you know full well that you have had to pay for everything – even including the driver’s tip, before you can go on the trip, but you are right in one respect, June organises them as well as she organises the Farmers market, and everyone enjoys them immensely.
    You’re clearly as ill-informed about this as everything else you say – we’ve not only had a committee meeting in the past month, but an AGM. Perhaps you would like to put your full name and address, and our membership secretary, Les, will be able to send you a form to join the CRA. Always best to speak from an informed position – although Simon and Stephen from GRASS, who first started this despicable rumour don’t.
    Now, with more than half a million pounds in grant aid, and as someone else has pointed out, a bill of £1000 plus to anyone wanting to hold a concert at the bandstand, maybe that’s where your nasty little mind should wander.
    Ann Smith – treasurer, CRA

    • Does any one know if the Grass group are allowed to pay themselves a wage from the grant aid ? Would be interested to find out, is it possible as they are a community group to access their accounts. FOI request perhaps. ?

      • I asked the same question with their press release on August 20th and somebody replied, that they had googled and it said that Directors of CIC’s can be paid. They have 3 Directors.

  18. Nah I’d rather go OhSoRetro show on Sunday 26th 10 am onwards just because the council shoe horned this and the pilgrims hospice colour run in all in the one area for the same day ……. Great job council 😒

  19. I cannot understand the almost obsessive way Grass are going on about the CRA’s finances, in fact anything to do with them. You dont hear CRA going on about Grass”s finances.
    Let it drop for goodness sake.
    You were the threatening group sending a solicitors letter which I have seen. Your group should be ashamed of yourselves with that action.

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