A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save Walton's traditional weekly market.

Residents and shoppers have been left "furious" by plans to axe the market, which takes place at the town’s Millennium Square on Thursdays and bank holiday Mondays.

Frinton and Walton Town Council, which stepped in to save the market in 2007, leases the Tendring Council-owned car park for the market to take place, but councillors have decided to pull the plug at the end of March when the current lease expires.

It said that due to changing shopping habits, the market is no longer financially viable.

A campaign group has now been set up to save the market, which was opened in June 1972 by Monty Modlyn, from BBC radio’s Today programme.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Opening - Monty Modlyn cutting the ribbon to open the market in 1972Opening - Monty Modlyn cutting the ribbon to open the market in 1972 (Image: Putmans Photography, Old Walton Archive)Victoria Godfrey-Bonnici has set up the Walton Market Action campaign group in a bid to save the market.

She said: "Like so many other people in Walton, the market means a great deal to me.

"The stallholders are very angry that there was no consultation with them, and the public and local shopkeepers are furious."
Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Now - M & G Fruit Stall, the oldest stall apart of the marketNow - M & G Fruit Stall, the oldest stall apart of the market (Image: Public)

Elizabeth Gibbins, a local shopper, said: "I have so many memories of shopping in the market in the past.

"As a child, I used to come down here every year on holiday to visit my relatives.

"When we moved here it was my link to this wonderful little community - fresh fruit and veg, plants, bread, cleaning produce, lovely chats, a community feel.

"It's a social hub for our older people who visit weekly to shop and chat. A lifeline for lots.

"The town is always busier on market day. It simply can't die."

Shoppers will be protesting against the decision before the Frinton and Walton Town Council at  the Council House, in Triangle Shopping Centre, on Thursday, January 4, at 7.15pm.

Ann Oxley, Walton's councillor, said: "I am determined to find a way forward and I hope that I will have people's continued support as we work together to save the market.

"I will pledge to arrange a meeting with stallholders to explore the way forward, to contact Tendring Council to request a one-year, zero-cost rent starting from March 2024 and to work with all stallholders to increase the number attending the site each and every week."

To sign the petition to save Walton Market go to www.change.org/p/preserve-walton-s-historic-weekly-market-from-closure.