Hopes that return of Midhurst Vintage Fair will give high street a boost as shops recover from North Street closure
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Taking place on July 22, from 10am to 4pm, the fair will feature 28 stalls selling a range decorative antiques, vintage goods, homeware and clothing in the market square. That makes this year’s fair bigger than previous years and organiser Caroline Bloomfield, who took over from a previous business owner, said there’s a lot to look forward to: “I’ve done fairs for years, so I’ve pulled on some contacts to get loads of fantastic stallholders. And we’ve kept the price really really cheap – it’s not all about money, we want to encourage people to come in. The stallholders we’ve got coming are really good. We’ve got a very established Petworth antique dealer coming along, for example – as well as some artisan makers. The idea is to grow it as time goes on and eventually take over the whole square.”
The fair’s return comes as Midhurst businesses continue to recover from The Angel Inn fire earlier this year, which led to the months long closure of North Street; a vital thoroughfare through the middle of the town. With footfall dropping and fewer visitors in the town centre, businesses suffered as a result, but Caroline, who owns an antique, home and clothing shop in Goldrings, hopes the fair will get the wheels of commerce turning again.
"Hopefully it will help to get the town back on its feet. Everything died off for almost four months there and we need to get it moving again, and of course any event is going to help achieve that. When the road was shut back in April we did a vintage fair and that was fantastic. People really turned out, so there’s a massive appetite for what we’re doing.”
West Sussex County Council reopened the A286 North Street to two-way traffic on June 23. A spokesman said this week: “Unfortunately, we are aware the restrictions were lifted earlier than planned on Hollist Lane and South Ambersham Hollow and we apologise for the disruption this caused.”
The council said it was receiving concerning reports of people walking onto the highway to get around the hoarding in front of the fire-damaged buildings.