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Totnes is forced to scale down its Christmas shopping nights

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 24, 2012


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A LATE night Christmas shopping event will have to be scaled down because it is a victim of its own success.

The Totnes late night shopping running on the three Tuesdays before Christmas was so popular last year there were concerns about safety and overcrowding.

The Totnes Traders Association, which is organising the festive event to boost Yuletide trade in the town, decided to scale the number of stalls down and improve the flow of shoppers, families and revellers through the High Street.

While last year some 200 stalls were erected on each late shopping night, this year's event will see only 60 in the High Street and Fore Street and 55 in Market Square.

Jo Sweet, from the chamber of trade, is coordinating this year's late night shopping.

She said: "Preparations are well underway. We've got everything in place.

"We will have about a third of the stalls we had last year.

"A great effort has been made to reduce the number of stalls to encourage visitors back into the shops.

"There were concerns last year about traffic. There were stalls on both sides of the road and it didn't help the flow of people up and down the street.

"The event has grown and evolved so much over the years. It reached a point where it needed to change.

"I guess we are victim of our own success, but we think it will be as equally successful."

Mrs Sweet said all stalls will be on the same side of the road.

Meanwhile, the chamber of trade has employed a small events company to run the late night shopping and liaise with police, fire service and ambulance.

She added: "A lot of the issues of last year have been addressed, especially getting rid of the bottlenecks.

"We're looking at using the two park and ride sites at Follaton House and possibly Keviccs or in Bridgetown.

"The emphasis this year is on more local craft and food and drink stalls.

"We've had 5,000 programmes printed. We're ready. It should be a good event."

As well as the shopping experience, visitors will have the chance to enjoy music from local bands near the Seven Stars hotel and in the Bay Horse pub at the top of the town.

The local Sound Dart radio, choirs and bands will also provide the entertainment in the Civic Square.

The late night Christmas shopping will be on December 4, 11 and 18 from 3.30pm to 10pm.

The Christmas late night shopping events are probably the biggest event of the year for Totnes and the envy of many other towns around who would love to have an event like this.

A spokeswoman from South Hams Council said: "We are aware the organisers of the Christmas late night shopping events want to use the park and ride facilities.

"When they want publicity we will be happy to help and put up signs. We have done it in previous years and we will do it again."

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  • Appyjack  |  November 24 2012, 1:37PM

    I hope that this year the event organisers will give due care & consideration to the poor souls who work in Totnes during the day but wish to get home in the evening after work at around 5-6.00pm. I know of a few people who, over the past couple of years, have been forced to leave work early or be faced with a 2 hour delay in their car trying to get out of the town and home. Even parking on the outskirts of town still left them with gridlocked roads - a temporary one-way system needs to be employed to keep the traffic moving.

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