False claims, low demand and opposition from local businesses caused a world foods market to leave Worthing more than a week early, its organiser has said.
The continental market on the seafront – which was granted a permit by Worthing Borough Council – was expected to be in town for 15 days and coincide with this weekend’s Rotary Carnival.
John McInnes, chief operating officer at RR Events which runs the market, said: “The market wasn’t as busy as we had hoped for and when we came to the town there seemed to be a wave of negative publicity from local businesses about a lack of information.”
Town centre manager, Sharon Clarke, said: “Businesses were not told about the market which irritated them. The market has not been advertised or promoted so it’s not going to attract footfall unless people know about it.
“The hospitality sector is fighting ever-increasing costs. If trade is affected during the summer months then costs have to be cut and this could impact on jobs.”
Mr McInnes said low trade forced the market to leave Worthing on Sunday.
He added: “You do not want to be somewhere you are not welcome.”
Mr McInnes confirmed the market had paid a fee to the council in order to set up shop on the seafront.
He added: “We have got traders coming from across Europe so they need to be somewhere where it is busy.
“There was misinformation that we had been kicked out of Hove – we have never been kicked out of anywhere.
“Misinformation such as this then snowballs.”
He also argued t the market was not in competition with local businesses.
He said: “We understand the concern from businesses but what we are bringing does not clash directly with what businesses are offering.
“It is a different experience, a different atmostphere.”
Among the complaints from local businesses was that they received little or no warning from the council that the market would be coming to Worthing at all.
Paul O’Brien, who runs I Love Candy in Bath Place, said: “I did not hear anything about it.
“People on the seafront were upset about it. The council should let the town know in a better way.”
A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council said: “The market set up on August 14 and had permission to operate for 15 days, up to and including the Rotary bank holiday carnival weekend.
“The application was made by traders working in tandem with the Rotary.
“All land bookings received by the council are processed and publicised as appropriate in our events calendar and discover Worthing website.”