THE PLANNING APPLICATION for an outdoor market in Corringham is back on the planning agenda but this time there are two applications.
Last year, Thurrock planners rejected an application for a market to be held in Grover Walk, proposed by Mr Robert Wong of the Outdoor Market Company.
That application courted intense controversy, splitting local opinion, after a campaign led by the Residents and Traders Association of Corringham.
Their objections were backed by planning councillors, much to the disappointment of Mr Wong, who vowed to appeal.
He has since resubmitted an amended application.
And in an interesting twist, the Corringham Traders and Residents Association have also submitted an application.
However, the Residents and Traders’ Association say their application is a defensive one, to ensure the future of the town centre.
They have also issued a statement, which says: “The Residents and Traders Association of Corringham is non-profit making unincorporated association that has grown from the community spirit produced by the recent threat to our town’s survival by a large profit making commercial market.
“We realised that we all had a common goal which is to care for our Town centre, protect its economic viability and ensure it remains here to not only support us, but for future generations that will live here too.
“We want to provide fun and innovative specialised events for the community to promote our town centre, improve its vitality, maintain its economic viability and keep it safe to shop here.
“An important factor about the Association is that it’s a non-profit organisation – not a commercial trading company set up with the aim to make a large profit.
“We are made up of a mixture of residents, shoppers and traders and we wish to invite members of the wider community to join and have a say on what are the best ways to keep Corringham on the map.
“In order to help protect the use of the town centre from a large scale commercial market and to be able to organise monthly events we have made our own application to the Council.
“We are asking for a change of use of Grover Walk for 4 days per month for flexibility of event dates, but it is our intention to hold events no more frequently than once per month.
“The idea is to gain permission for events such as Craft fairs, Easter egg hunts and specialised farmers and artisan markets etc.
We would also want to support the re-introduction of The Winter Festival.
“We are non-profit making, therefore any excess funds raised will be used on projects that improve or support our town centre.”
In a short statement, Mr Wong has expressed his surprise at a “rival” application being tabled.
“I was very surprised to hear that there appears to be a group of people who have formed an association purporting to represent the local residents and traders.
“It seems to be made up of those people who were most vociferous in their total and complete opposition to Corringham holding any outdoor market at all and who now appear to be proposing one of their own within the town centre, however I will look to those democratically elected, to look at the merits of both cases and make an informed decision.”
Both applications are expected to receive a hearing on Thursday March 14th.