IAN HART: There are always two sides to the story

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

An international food market, packed with diverse stalls and pop up bars, for whatever reason stopped from operating at its traditional base on Hove Lawns, moved to Worthing last week. On the face of it a positive move?

The great British weather was always going to be a factor, but for something so ambitious, and not for the first time in this town’s history, was it really publicised and advertised enough?

I myself only learnt about it by a chance remark on Sunday and when I drove past it on Sunday afternoon it was like a ghost town – in fact I think more people have seen Lord Lucan in the past 12 months than were down on the prom that afternoon.

Due to lack of interest, they’ve upped sticks and left town just before the bank holiday weekend, and possibly the days when it would have come into its own.

Local council figures have been quick to slam the critics on social media, stating that certain traders’ “narrow mindedness” will eventually result in Worthing going down the pan.

But as always there are two sides to the story, clearly the lack of publicity resulted in not many, if any, visitors from outside the town, actually attending the event, therefore the only people to use it and spend money were Worthingites.

Which begs the question, is it really fair for our local bars and restaurants to pay business rates for 52 weeks, only to have much-needed trade taken away from them by these temporary stall holders who pay nothing but a minimal pitch fee?

The likes of Ciro, Andy Sparsis, Walter at Brio’s, Richard and Simon at Indigo and Andy Taylor at the Crabshack, amongst others, are here all year round, providing excellent service and local employment, so should we really be neglecting this essential part of the local economy in favour of effectively high-end takeaway stalls?

Let’s have a international food festival by all means, but let’s use the existing local traders we have, rather than untested outsiders.

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