Traders revolt over closing street for Marlborough Jazz Festival

This Is Wiltshire: David Dudley and Bob Holman were not happy with trade during the jazz festival David Dudley and Bob Holman were not happy with trade during the jazz festival

TRADERS in Marlborough say they lost out on thousands of pounds of business as a result of road closures over the jazz festival weekend and want a rethink for next year’s event.

Owners of High Street businesses turned up at Monday’s town council meeting to explain the problems they experienced.

David Dudley, of David Dudley Jewellery, said: “There is certainly a loss of trade which I feel we should now be sorting out.

“I would say there was about £150,000 worth of business lost. I was down 80 per cent.

“I would like the jazz festival to sit down with the traders and discuss this matter.

"It is very serious and if we kept the High Street open we would have more people and the traffic wouldn’t have all that congestion.”

His views were echoed by Bob Holman, of the Food Gallery, who had surveyed 60 independent retailers and found many had a similar experience.

He said: “We want to work alongside the jazz festival, to make it an even better experience for people coming into the town, because it’s an amazing international event and we certainly don’t want to kill it.

“I didn’t break even on the day. I’m in business to make money. I can’t afford not to make money.”

Traders asked why the High Street was not closed for market days if closure was deemed necessary for health and safety during the three-day festival.

Paul Collis, of Valentiner Designs, said: “My customers were puzzled why, for a jazz festival which largely wasn’t in operation in the street during the day, did we need to close the High Street.”

Town resident Audrey Peck said: “Probably more people were inconvenienced than were having a good time at the jazz festival.

“The A4 should be flowing, the shops should be having business as usual and people should not be waiting at bus stops with no buses and queued up in cars miles out of the town.”

The council agreed to put the issue on a future agenda.

Jazz festival organiser Nick Fogg said: “If [the closure] did not happen, you’d have no jazz festival, it’s as simple as that.”

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