Traders join protest over axed Morris and molly procession as 25 local businesses and community leaders fire off protest letter to council chiefs

25 local independent traders and community leaders have joined the growing row over the decision by

25 local independent traders and community leaders have joined the growing row over the decision by East Cambs Council to ban this year's folk festival Morris and molly procession. They want the ban lifted. Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

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.

Most Read

"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

Sherrie Hall - On Behalf of Ely Pride

Amy Jolly - The Jolly Bobbin

Sarah Simonds - Artichoke Ely

Emily and David Chen - Uclassy

Michael and Margaret Rooney - Little Roo's

Mark Mitzman - Mitzy Ely

Lizzie Kendon - 68 Market Street

Lesley Partridge - Sew Much To Do

Annabel Reddick - Burrows Bookshop and Burrows Newsagents

Louise Kavanagh-Dixon - Dream Doors

Mark Cooney - Ely Business Travel

Alison Powell - Bagsy That

Fleur Patte - On Behalf of 981 Members of the Ely Rockers Community Group

Lizzy Doe and Sofia Ward - The Samovar Tea House

Virginie Ganivet - Community Leader

Angie Dryden - Cherry Hill Chocolates

Christine Carr - Turtle Moon