There has been a great response to the first weekly artisan market in Kirkcaldy High Street – despite some teething problems.
The initiative was launched this morning (Friday) by local businesswoman Louise Canny, owner of Eloise Jewellery, who arranged for a number of quality stalls to be set up under blue and pink coloured gazebos in front of empty shop units in the town centre, including Marks and Spencer and BHS.
She hopes the new venture will breathe new life into the town’s high street.
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However, the new market suffered some teething issues this morning after some of the stalls selling food were operating without hot and cold running water, against advice from Fife Council’s environmental health department.
And as a result, Louise said unfortunately some stallholders packed up and left.
She said: “After fitting everybody in to completely different slots that they were meant to be in and the logistics of getting everybody fitted – as they have to be 1.8 metres away from static street furniture – environmental health has come out this morning and told me I need to have hot and cold running water for every stall, which they did tell me, but when I went round to other markets to see how they did it, they didn’t have this.
“I have sinks and I have hot water in basins for the stallholders, so everyone has hot water but it has got to be hot and cold running water.
“I am just wondering why I am the only one that has to do this and no-one else has to. This is why I am a bit disgruntled.
“As a result, some of the stall holders have been made to go home.
“It is annoying because I feel I am being singled out. Some of the stallholders who are used to doing outside events have pumps with sinks, but I need more so if I can buy them anywhere today I will.”
She added: “There have been some teething problems for the first one but despite this there has been a great response and the market has been busy.
“I keep seeing people going round the fresh produce which is fantastic.”
But Lisa McCann, Fife Council service manager for Environmental Health (Food & Workplace safety) stressed that no traders were closed down or sent away and no formal action was taken.
She said: “Our standard advice was issued to the market operator in advance of the event. This includes, for establishments handling food, to ensure there are facilities for hand washing.
“This must consist of hot and cold or appropriately mixed running water and a supply of soap and paper towels. The level of provision required depends on the type and or amount of food activity, and the set up and layout of the event.
“No traders were closed down or sent away and no formal action was taken. Unfortunately, though we did encounter some stalls with issues including inadequate hand washing facilities.”
She continued: “Officers were satisfied that alternative safety controls were in place for the rest of the day and provided further advice and support as a preventative measure for future markets.
“We appreciate this is a new set up and are obviously keen to see this new town centre market thrive.
“We will continue to support its efforts but uphold all markets to the required food safety requirements.”
She added: “It’s our job to make sure that all traders are meeting food hygiene regulations and their food is safe to eat.”
Councillor for Kirkcaldy Central Alistair Cameron said: “We have had a really good start to the market despite the rain and there have been a few people around already and a lot of interest in it.
“There is a good variety of foods and this is just the starting point.
“It is small beginnings but I am sure it will be a really big success.”