A stallholder on Salisbury Market Place, who has never missed a Saturday Charter market in 37 years, has slammed the decision to close it on Armed Forces Day.

Salisbury City Councillor and father of two Ian Tomes, 60, said it showed a ‘complete lack of regard’ for the heritage and culture of the city. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Salisbury during the weekend from June 28 as the famous city ‘recovers’ from the poison attack last year on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Mr Tomes said: ”I have never missed a Saturday market since 1982. We have a market that stretches back centuries and they quite casually come along and close it without any consultation.”

He added: “It is dangerous for me to speak on behalf of all traders, but I believe most would share most my views. I have every respect for the armed forces, however, the market is very much part of the heritage and culture of Salisbury. This shows a complete lack of regard for that.

“Salisbury is a lovely market. It is still one of the best but it needs protection. Yet, here we are, casually closing it down. We have been told you cannot earn anything for a week.

“I do not want to come across as some whinging, whining, moaning market trader. But it has to survive in the modern world. It is already down to two-thirds the size it was in 2013, partly due to changes in retail habits.”

Salisbury City Council said it had taken the decision to close the Charter market.

“Salisbury is the proud host of this year’s National Armed Forces Day Celebrations and a military parade is planned for the city centre which will pass close to the Market Square. Working closely to support this momentous occasion, it became clear the combination of road closures, logistics of the event, and the scale of the security surrounding the parade would mean the Charter market could not be held,” leader Cllr Jeremy Nettles said.

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