Traders join protest over axed Morris and molly procession as 25 local businesses and community leaders fire off protest letter to council chiefs
PUBLISHED: 16:41 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:41 01 July 2019
A diverse range of local businesses and community groups joined the escalating campaign spearheaded by the Ely Standard to allow the traditional Morris and molly procession through the market day as part of the folk festival.
Organisers of the Ely Folk Festival expressed outrage after claiming Ely Markets - run by East Cambridgeshire District Council - has banned the procession through the market place this year.
Although council leader Anna Bailey has promised urgent talks, 16 councillors earlier sent in a letter asking for the decision to be over turned.
Now a group of 25 traders and community leaders has joined the chorus of disapproval in a letter to John Hill, the council's chief executive.
"We, the undersigned, a collection of Independent Business Owners, Community Champions and Representatives of Community Groups are writing in response to a recent decision made by East Cambs Trading Company and East Cambridgeshire District Council," they said.
"That decision is the refusal to allow the annual Morris and Molly Dancing procession to utilise the Ely Market Place.
"This performance is a well-loved local spectacle, taking place every year for over two decades.
"It has become as much of a feature as the Eel Parade, the Potato Race and the Kings School Hoop Trundle. It is woven into the very fabric of our vibrant and eclectic city's rich tapestry. The refusal to grant permission is short sighted and far from constructive."
Their protest letter says: "The businesses within Ely witness a sizable increase in footfall and subsequent trade during the Folk Festival Weekend, in a huge part because of the Morris and Molly procession that takes place.
"In these trying times for businesses it is imperative that no chance for success should be withheld, or indeed impeded, by the elected bodies that should be offering support.
"The Ely community is a welcoming one, with a wide range of wonderful businesses and groups that seek to make Ely an even better destination for both locals and tourists; a hub of vibrant shopping and an evocative cultural destination.
"We request, with strong opinions and extensive frustration, that you reconsider your decision. We ask that you place yourselves in support, and not opposition to this remarkable tradition.
"For fear of being repetitive, we say this one final time: Do not seek to place a stranglehold on Ely' City Centre, to do so would restrict the oxygen to and the effects will be felt far and wide."
Those who have signed the letter are:
Jo - Beth Chapman - PositivEly Treated
Arabella Chambers - Cutlacks
Maria Morgan - Platinum Properties
David Gamble - Kays of Ely
Debbie Kidd - Lemon Tree Deli
David Aspall - Julia's Tearoom
Barry Lonsdale - Cloisters Art and Antiques
Helen and Andy Watkins - The Eel Catcher's Daughter
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