Traders still in the dark over Stamford Christmas Festival refunds
Stamford Town Council has refused to say whether it will refund traders who were due to take part in the cancelled Christmas market.
The event was due to take place on Sunday, November 29. But the council cancelled it the day before due to forecast bad weather.
Several traders contacted the Mercury last week, angry at the lack of communication from the council and keen to get the money they spent on stall fees refunded.
The council’s events committee met on Monday to discuss the issue. Councillors made a recommendation on refunds, which will be voted on by the full council on December 22. But town clerk Patricia Stuart-Mogg refused to say what the recommendation was.
In an e-mail sent to traders, which was also sent to the Mercury, the town clerk wrote: “Further to the cancellation of the Stamford Christmas Festival last Sunday, November 29, Stamford Town Council events committee met on Monday, December 7, and reviewed the position in respect of the fee paid by traders.
“A recommendation has been made to the town council. No further comment can be made at this stage, until the town council has considered the recommendation and reached a final decision at the Tuesday, December 22 town council meeting.
“As you will appreciate it has been a great disappointment for both trader and town council that this event was cancelled for health and safety reasons. The committee recognise the situation of traders at this challenging economic period and are endeavouring to support you as best as possible.
“A further update will be circulated following the town council resolution.”
The town clerk cited “council protocol” as the reason she could not say what the recommendation was. Government guidelines require town and parish councils to make a copy of the minutes of any meeting available for inspection afterwards, but Stamford Town Council has not yet done so for Monday’s meeting.
Barnack-based trader Simon Wescott runs a franchise for The Book People and was due to take part in Stamford Christmas Festival. He has still not had an apology from the council. He said: “I think the way the stall holders have been treated is disgusting and we have been shown a total lack of respect.
“With Christmas coming up and with a family of two young girls, to be misled and then having to wait nearly a month to find out if we get any stall money back is poor.
“Communication from the council has been non-existent and we’ve been the ones having to do all the chasing to extract the information out of them. I think the council’s poor response to cancelling the event - with no contingency plans in place and lack of communication, is disgraceful.”