Strong public presence at town council meeting over Mistletoe Market plans

Knutsford Guardian: Strong public presence at town council meeting over Mistletoe Market plans Strong public presence at town council meeting over Mistletoe Market plans

AROUND 20 members of the public filed into a town council meeting on Monday night in response to the Mistletoe Markets proposals.

Two residents volunteered to speak during the meeting’s public participation period about their concerns over the proposed 6-week Christmas market planned for the Heath.

Gaskell Avenue resident Sarah Ganczarski was the first to address council members. Sarah has set up a petition to stop the market from coming to the Heath and has secured over 1,000 signatures to date.

In her statement to the council, she said: “The proposed market and car park for two months - including setting up and taking down - will massively impede use of the Heath for one-sixth of the year and damage its surface.

“Advice from Natural England suggests the Section 38 permission is unlikely to be granted as this is a commercial venture of no benefit to the land. Neither is it a Town Green activity such as the Mayfair. Wooden chalets are traditional to German City Squares, not English commons.

“In addition, they require Planning permission, Conservation Area permission and a Large Events Licence. All these allow for objections.”

Sarah also said that market would go against the council’s newly-adopted 2020 Vision and questioned whether Knutsford would benefit from an additional market as the existing Christmas Market is successful.

She concluded: “This is the wrong event, in the wrong location, for far too long. German style Christmas markets are ten a penny. Knutsford is a unique town and deserves something much better than this.”

Manchester Road resident Denise Wilkinson was next to speak. Her concerns related to the increase of traffic congestion and the impact on non-retail or hospitality businesses, such as hairdressers and doctor surgeries.

She added: “It’s not a case of being NIMBY, it’s a case of standing up against a proposal that I feel is very wrong for Knutsford.”
Councillors listened to the public speakers but did not speak at length about the proposals.

Clr Michael Houghton and Clr Stewart Gardiner both asserted that they have had numerous members of the public approach them and voice their concerns over the market.

Clr Houghton added: “The strength of public opinion – I have not seen anything like in my time as a councillor.”

The council reassured members of the public that if and when the proposals appear on an agenda, the council will take a standpoint on the matter.

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Wilmslow-based Living World Events joined forces with Tatton Estate, who own the Heath, to create the Mistletoe Market.

Living World Events’ Director Jemma Gilmartin has now made a full recovery following being unwell and has rescheduled the consultation dates:

Residents Wednesday 9th April 6.30pm
                 Thursday 10th April 6.30pm
Retailers Monday 7th April 7.00pm

Living World Events said: “The Mistletoe Market has been announced at its early stages of planning to give the local community and businesses an opportunity to put their views and ideas forward and to shape this into an event the community can be proud of.

“No details are yet fixed and changes will be made which means there is a genuine opportunity to make positive suggestions to develop the proposals. We are heartened that people are taking the time to listen to the proposals and are putting some wonderful suggestions forward to make this a fabulous event.”

Tatton Estate said: "The Tatton Estate is pleased that Living World Events’ Director Jemma Gilmartin has now made a full recovery.
“The Living World team continue to work hard to engage with residents and local businesses and we look forward to hearing revised proposals once people have taken the time to listen to Living World and make informed, positive suggestions."

To book the event you are planning to attend call: 01625 471 901 or email hello@livingworldevents.co.uk as places are limited. Consultations will be held at the vacant M&Co Unit - 29

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