RESIDENTS have said they are “devastated and deeply saddened” as final opening date for the Wimborne Market at its current site has been confirmed.

The owners of the Wimborne Market site have announced that the market will cease trading on Sunday December 19.

Christine Talbot has been an avid supporter of the Friday Market in Wimborne since 1989 when she moved to Dorset and travelled each week from Wareham.

She said: “The market is a community for many dedicated customers of all ages and has through all weathers offered a steadfast and reliable service to its regulars.

"During the Covid crisis essential supplies were made available continuing to offer as diverse a stock as possible.

"In general, their competitive pricing is unbeatable against supermarkets and other local shops along with a vast array of alternative items to purchase such as, household, pet supplies and plant stalls all of which in one area is a huge bonus and a time saving way to shop.

"I can remember in the earlier years having discovered the wonders of Wimborne Market I needed to be parked up before 7.30am to avoid the lengthy queues for produce."

However, over the years, Christine has said that she has noticed a steady deterioration in site maintenance and fewer and fewer traders, which has been exacerbated by the national lockdowns.

Bournemouth Echo: Wimborne Market Site 2

In an open letter sent to businesses and traders, John George, head of the George family, said that the family have struggled to make the “difficult” decision to close the site.

He said: “It is always difficult and a bit sad to face the end of an era, but I am afraid time never stands still and for many reasons stall markets up and down the country have declined and closed down.

“But, for many years, Wimborne has benefitted from being a market town with one of the largest and most interesting markets in the south of England.”

However, the collective have said that the town deserved to maintain its reputation as a market town with the construction of a new, characterful site.

Bournemouth Echo: The Wimborne Showground site on the B3078. Image from Google Maps

The family have earmarked the Wimborne Show Ground, a site which they have owned for the past 23 years, as a potential destination for the market, which improved travel links and an adjoining car park.

“We feel that the town must keep the reputation and benefit of having a purpose-built market where local people can shop and which will bring holiday makers into the town," said Mr George's letter.

“We hope to create a rustic looking country market with all wooden open fronted buildings erected on stone staddle stones similar to old style farmers grain stores and implement sheds.

“Construction would not involve digging into the land to construct foundations for buildings. The big emphasis will be on the sale of locally produced goods and products. Local crafts and artisan stalls and small units.

“At the same time, we intend to promote more outside exercise and recreation by linking the existing foot and cycle paths from Merley and Corfe Mullen to Wimborne Town Centre without having to cross the Wimborne Bypass and dangerous Lake Gates Roundabout.

The owners are also proposing to extend the walking, running and cycling route through the large field adjoining the Wimborne Show Ground for general recreational use with a car park which could relieve the problem of on-street car parking which was an ongoing issue at their previous location.