Continental Market axed in row over shift to Town Square

A previous Continental Market in Kirkcaldy
A previous Continental Market in Kirkcaldy

The organiser of Kirkcaldy’s Continental Market has vented his anger at Fife Council after being told to move from the High Street to another location in the town ‘at the last minute’.

Ali Yaich, organiser of the event, pulled the plug on the market - which was due to take place from November 27 to December 1 - after being asked to move to the Town Square.

Fife Council told The Press the request was made after concerns were raised by High Street retailers about the negative impact the market was having on their trade.

But Mr Yaich said he was angry about being asked to relocate - because he wasn’t consulted.

He said: “We applied in December for permission to hold the market in the High Street this year as we normally do and everything was fine.

“But then we got an email at the end of October requesting we move to the Town Square.

‘‘ This was at the last minute and very unfair on our traders who come from countries like Holland and Spain, so we had to cancel it.

‘‘We had permission to use the area but no licence. We have lost money and our traders are out of pocket.”

Mr Yaich said he will apply again for a licence next year but intends to consult a lawyer about the situation.

Iain Matheson, the Council’s chief legal officer, said Kirkcaldy Area Committee recommended the market move from the High Street to the Town Square in October. He said the request was made to the applicant but the alternative site was declined.

Councillor Neil Crooks, committee chairman, said town centre retailers felt it was costing them trade.

He said: “Through feedback from Kirkcaldy4All it was clear the retailers felt the Continental Market was having a detrimental effect on footfall.

‘‘I had discussions with Council officers and the outcome was in order to support our High Street, the Continental Market be offered the use of the Town Square. This offer was made but not taken up.

‘‘We remain opposed to the Continental Market on the High Street as it was beginning to sell items which were on sale in our shops.”

Bill Harvey, BID manager, Kirkcaldy4All, said the levy payers were canvassed and the majority did not want the market on the High Street as it was taking away their trade.

He said: “We appreciate the needs of the market traders, but we need to support our local businesses.”