Chairman’s letter to Haslemere Herald commenting on decision re Grayshott Markets

Below is a letter submitted to the Haslemere Herald for inclusion in the edition of w/e 26th Feb 2016. This was as a result of the Herald asking for a comment on the Council’s decision not to grant use of The Square in 2016 to the Markets.

Grayshott Parish CouncilDear Sirs,

Now that the full minutes of the Parish Council meeting on 15th February are available for all to read on and on Facebook I can provide some additional commentary which might give further clarity to our decision not to grant a licence to the Grayshott Market for 2016 at the Square.

When I wrote to the Haslemere Herald earlier this month I made it clear we were looking to those involved in disagreement over a Saturday Market in Grayshott to try and settle their differences in time for our meeting when we had been asked to make a decision on granting a licence for use of The Square in 2016. However, after representatives had addressed the meeting it became clear that the gap between the parties had not been closed. After questioning by councillors the vote was taken and it was agreed not to grant a licence in 2016. In fact the vote was tied but I exercised Chairman’s right to create a majority which erred on the side of caution given the lack of agreement and understanding on both sides. That was not an easy decision to make but I believe it was the responsible one.

The context is not a simple one – a clear appeal from some existing retailers in Grayshott that trading is difficult and their livelihoods affected negatively by a Saturday market occupying the main part of the day cannot be disregarded and treated lightly. As far as Grayshott residents are concerned the evidence available to us indicated a quite mixed opinion on the Market.

I realise this decision will have left many people disappointed but that would have happened with any decision. I would hope that supporters of the Market will understand that faced with a situation of some discord in the Grayshott community simply to have issued a licence would not have been appropriate action by the Parish Council.

What needs to happen now is for some repair work to community cohesion and reestablishment of respect for differing views. We need to look closely at the problems for the retail sector in Grayshott and if, and how, any community initiatives can help develop and sustain it. If future discussions are successful in reaching an agreement then this could include a market.

Yours faithfully

John Frankcom

Grayshott Parish Council

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