Hadleigh Market

Hadleigh Market ConsultationThere are times when you see things that you wish you hadn’t. You dismiss them from your mind and then they come back in the early hours of the morning, when you should be dreaming of nice things.
I was visiting Hadleigh last month and noticed a poster in the Co-op inviting comments and suggestions on the future of Hadleigh Town Market. As a market town we have a long tradition of markets and fairs. Within recent years we have seen the market shrink from two days a week to one (Friday) and recently the key anchor merchandiser (the greengrocer) announced that he was retiring.
I’m all for consultation and accessing the community of knowledge and so I welcomed the outreach initiative. And then I saw what I rank as five of the worst words in the English language ever strung together. There at the bottom of the poster is the strap line “Managed by Babergh District Council”.
The disconnect between the reality and the ability to organise tea parties at Twinings is historical and self evident. Babergh are the Council who insisted on trying to foist a Tesco supermarket on Hadleigh despite the overwhelming evidence that it would be an economic disaster and destroy the High Street and the town. These are the people who have sat on East House leaving it empty since 2006 when it could have continued as a community asset. These are the people who gave us car parking charges in the face of overwhelming evidence that small towns need the support that free car parking gives them to continue their vibrancy and to enable small businesses to compete against supermarkets.
Babergh, for as long as I have known it, thinks of itself as the inheritor of the view that ‘the man in Whitehall knows best’. This socialist statist view came from Baron Jay who in 1937 wrote: “In the case of nutrition and health, just as in the case of education, the gentleman in Whitehall really does know better what is good for people than the people know themselves.” Babergh self inherited this arrogance which continues to manifest itself in their actions.
And what of Hadleigh Market. The Town already hosts monthly Farmers’ Markets and there is scope for people to enjoy more artisanal as well as more exotic products (I particularly liked the Nile Perch available from Crystal Waters). However at the risk of being a Cassandra, I can’t see the helping hand of Babergh being a significant plus factor in the Market’s future.

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