TATTON Estate is offering a warm welcome to the Heath this Sunday for the return to Knutsford of the popular Makers Market.

Sunday’s market is being held as a one-off at the Heath, which is owned by Tatton Estate, to allow room for everyone to maintain social distancing.

Randle Brooks, the owner of the Tatton Estate, said: “Knutsford and its businesses need all of our help, and we among many others, are more than ever here to give it.”

However the decision to hold the market on the Heath has been criticised by the Friends of the Heath group, which said the decision failed to comply with ‘agreed principles’ for the Heath.

Mr Brooks added: “We are delighted that, following very careful consideration, Knutsford Town Council and the Makers Market have decided to take up our invitation to use the Heath entirely free of charge to allow us as a community to support our businesses safely.

“Now is the time to act carefully but quickly and decisively.

“While the Makers Market runs at the same time as our Tatton Social event at Ashley Hall, we have not hesitated to support both as it is the right thing to do, as well as waiving our car parking charges [at Canute Place], given most free parking has been temporarily suspended.

“So many events have been cancelled, and therefore we especially welcome local traders as our guest to Knutsford Heath or Ashley Hall this weekend to be able to celebrate and sell their wares, and we encourage everyone who can to shop and support local.”

A Friends of the Heath spokesman said: “We have been surprised by the sudden decision of Knutsford Town Council to hold the Makers Market on the Heath on Sunday.

“We generally welcome events on The Heath that benefit the town. However, this one has been imposed with little notice and without due public consultation or compliance with the agreed principles.

“We are seeking clarification from Knutsford Town Council. In the meantime, we cannot endorse the event taking place.”

The Guiding Principles’ document for holding events on the Heath has been agreed by Tatton Estate, Knutsford Town Council and Friends of the Heath, and states that any organised event held on The Heath should benefit the community and avoid damaging The Heath’s natural integrity.

The town council is working on plans for future markets to be held on the Princess Street car parks, subject to the effectiveness of safety measures put in place for this Sunday’s market at the Heath.