Shoppers in Spalding face frantic queues in supermarkets to buy their festive fruit and vegetables because there is no extra market in the town centre on Christmas Eve.
Market traders are reportedly up in arms because they had hoped their normal Tuesday market, which falls on Christmas Day, would be brought forward a day – giving them and shops in the town a last minute boost.
But unlike at Boston, where the Borough Council has brought the Wednesday market forward to Monday, there will not be another one in Spalding until Saturday.
Mark Smith, manager of Cafe Moda in Beales, holds monthly breakfast meetings for local traders and has been hearing a lot of complaints about there being no market on Christmas Eve from both stallholders and local businesses.
Mr Smith said: “I’ve been told it’s not happening because the council have decided they are not working on that day.
“Stallholders are missing vital trade and the rest of us traders will miss valuable footfall that the market brings to the town centre during already difficult times. The market is a massive pull for town centre businesses.
“We rely on the last-minute trade. Christmas Eve as a trading day is normally one of the best for us with people coming into town to do their last-minute shopping and to buy their vegetables.
“I know it is one we cannot do without.”
Local shopper Louise Creek said: “I think they should allow the market traders to work Christmas Eve. A lot of regular market customer will want to buy their Christmas Day and Boxing Day fruit and vegetables, but won’t be able to if there’s no market. It will also make the supermarkets even more mental than they already are for the Christmas rush.”
Chris Hutchins, communications officer for South Holland District Council: “We received a couple of requests to hold a street market in Spalding on Monday, as Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday, the usual market day.
“While we would have been pleased to oblige, we did not feel that there would be sufficient demand from traders on Christmas Eve, particularly as many of our routine stallholders who sell perishable goods had indicated that they would not attend.
“We have 37 traders and 62 stalls and four expressed an interest in having a market on December 24.
“Additionally, some traders who have pitches in Spalding on a Tuesday have regular stalls at other markets on a Monday.
“As Mondays are non-market days in Spalding we would also have had to have applied to Lincolnshire County Council, giving it at least three months’ notice, to make such arrangements.
“From next year a market committee will meet to discuss such issues well in advance.”
President of Spalding Chamber of Commerce Phil Scarlett said: “It’s a shame for the town that there will be no market on Christmas Eve, especially when there is an extra one at Boston.”