A GASKELL Avenue resident is fighting controversial plans to stage a 6-week Christmas Market on the Heath– and has been out in force around town to garner support.
Sarah Ganczarski, whose property would directly look upon the 100-chalet market, has set up a Change.Org petition against the Mistletoe Markets coming to The Heath.
As well running the online petition, Sarah, with the help of neighbours, has been canvassing the roads surrounding the Heath and took her petition to the town centre streets – collecting a total of 320 signatures in four days.
“This is a crazy scheme for Knutsford and will result in a loss of trade for retailers if we are complacent,” she said.
“I have had people running up to me in the streets wanting to sign the petition – the support has been overwhelming.”
Two weeks ago, the Guardian reported that Wilmslow-based Living World Events had joined forces with Tatton Estate Management to create Mistletoe Markets Knutsford.
The market, proposed to operate from November 14 to December 23, would see 100 traditional wooden chalets erected on Little Heath, selling a variety of produce and wares, a central bar, Santa’s Grotto with a Lapland style tepee and Christmas Tree Forest.
However, many Knutsfordians have raised concerns about the proposals, in particular the detrimental affect it may have on the well-used Heath, the potential loss of trade for town centre retailers, the impact on neighbouring houses and the possible exacerbation of existing traffic problems.
Sarah added: “Would it really be lovely and magical for Knutsford to have traffic management issues for six weeks, and busloads of people pouring onto the Heath, wading through mud, to give their business to market traders who will mostly be from out of town?
“The idea that we will have music, beer and charity performances going on twelve feet away from our living room windows 7 days a week, for 40 days and nights straight, in the run up to Christmas is not something that any of us would look forward to.
”Also losing our open spaces which we use for pleasure and leisure – over my dead body, we will move heaven and earth to stop it.”
Sarah also raised concerns over changes to the public consultation events.
The planned open day on March 27 has been replaced by series of consultation dates for affected residents and retailers.
However, Jemma Gilmartin, director of Living World Events, said they have had phenomenal interest in the market and have extended the consultation events in order to share the plans and hear from all stakeholders.
She added: “It goes almost without saying that Living World Events will manage the market to minimise any disruption to the town whilst maximising the benefits for local shops, tourist attractions and existing events in the calendar.
“I think it is important for people to know what it is about and have a discussion where they can comment on everything from the location, the proposed dates, markets traders etc. There will always be concerns with anything new as there was with the Artisan and Christmas Markets, and the recent press speculation on the survival of the Artisan market has highlighted the importance of these events. We hope people will embrace the Mistletoe Markets to make it a local landmark event.”
Consultations will be held at the vacant M&Co Unit on Canute Place and are open to residents directly affected and business owners. Places must be booked in advance. To book a place call 01625 471 901 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The first set of dates are:
Thursday 20th March – 7pm
Friday 21st March – 6pm
Thursday 27th March - 6pm (further meeting as requested)
Saturday 29th March- 9.30am
Tuesday 1st April – 6.30pm
Monday 7th April – 7pm