MARKET stallholders will now be allowed to trade during the winter months after forcing the hand of the council by pitching up unofficially.

The Walton Market, which is held within the Millennium Square, had previously only run between April and December every year.

Frinton and Walton Town Council rents the land from Tendring Council and are technically allowed to use the space all year round.

But, due to the financial strain it can put on the council during the winter, traders had only been permitted use the area for eight months of the year.

Councillors have now, however, performed a U-turn after stallholders pitched up during forbidden months and residents voiced their anger.

Fiona Robertson, mayor of the Frinton and Walton Town Council, spearheaded the discussion and decision to allow traders to work all year round.

She has now encouraged shoppers to defy the colder weather and get behind the traders to help to create a thriving market in the town.

“Market traders had been at the market for the last few weeks, even though that market should have been shut,” she said.

“Walton is a small town with many of the shops closing and many closed in the winter months.

“So, if the market traders can make a living, then we should let them provide a service to our town.

“Shopkeepers have said their trade is better on market days, so market traders and residents, please come and use our market.”

A trader, who asked not to be named, said it was a positive result for both the town and his fellow stallholders.

He said: “Obviously the trade during the winter does drop-off a bit, but it is still a day’s work at the end of the day and a chance to earn at least something.

“I think this is really good for the area because it will give shoppers somewhere to go and also for the traders because they can now continue doing their jobs.”

Belinda Tinkler, from Walton, who had previously voiced her concerns over the closure of the market during the winter, is delighted with the council’s U-turn.

She said: “I hope that what I did helped because the traders deserve to be allowed to work each week.

“People need to eat even in the winter and the traders are now over the moon because they can work again.

“It is brilliant news and I love having the market and the traders back.”