A retrospective planning application to move the famous Bovingdon Market has been met with objections.
Wendy Fair Markets, which has been operating on Bovingdon Airfield since the 1970s, has relocated from the east/west runway to the north-east/south-west runway.
But the move, which puts the 400-stall market closer to homes, has been met with objections from the village parish council, the Environment Agency and Dacorum Borough Council’s own planning department, which described it as inappropriate development on the Green Belt.
The area that the operators have moved to was previously used for banger racing, which stopped around five years ago. More recently it has been used for filming and has been newly resurfaced.
A transport statement submitted by Wendy Fair Markets as part of the planning application says: “This runway is much better for the market as it has parking available at both ends. It is also nearer the village to enable more customers to walk to us here.”
It goes on: “The site has open parking for about 6,000 cars on the main runway so it has the capacity to cope with large traffic volumes. We generally have about 4000 vehicle attend over the course of 7 hours (from 7am to 4pm) on a Saturday.”
The market has created around 400 jobs and its operators say it also sustains the wider local economy with visitors spending as they travel to and from the market.
But the planning application has not been welcomed by some villagers.
One written objection to the borough council said: “My partner and I used to live in Shoreditch and loved the local markets, selling fresh and homemade products. We were very disappointed when we first visited Bovingdon market as it was like stepping back in time and we didn’t fancy taking the risk on buying the £90 branded aftershaves reduced down to £30! My partner and I do visit the market every now and again, mainly for the butcher and the odd good stall.
“I love the idea of having a market within walking distance and to add to the village, but the days of ‘cheap high street branded’ clothes and copied CD’s are a thing of the past, this is a perfect opportunity to ensure that the market develops in the appropriate way e.g. more farmer market stalls!”
On a Bovingdon Facebook page, some have said they would support a campaign to get rid of the market altogether.
One poster said: “It’s a disgusting place with goodness knows what going on - we shouldn’t have to have it on our doorstep, the rats run free up there as they don’t clear up - let’s ‘get rid’.”
Bovingdon Parish Council has raised concerns over noise levels, the relocation bringing it closer to houses, the traffic impact on Molyneaux Avenue and litter.
A decision on the planning application is expected to be made at the council’s development control committee meeting on April 9.