Published: 16:25, 22 January 2018
Bargain hunters will have to pay to get into a popular boot fair for the first time.
Organisers of the Ashford fair, which is held every Sunday on the Orbital Park market site, are to start charging shoppers from next week.
They will ask for £1 per car and pedestrians entering the sale on foot will be charged 50p.
Market manager Peter Kingwill, who is from the Ashford Cattle Market Company which runs the event, says the charge is not unreasonable.
He said: “Car boot sales are no different to any other business – and businesses have to look appropriately at their income and expenditure.
“We advertise the fair every week and we employ staff on the day to monitor it and clean the area, as well as employing others to clear up the refuse the following day.
“I can understand some people’s immediate reaction and that they would prefer not to pay, but it is one of those things and that is life.”
Disappointed shoppers criticised the move on Facebook, but Mr Kingwill says the charge is a “fair reflection” of what shoppers receive when they visit the fair.
"The majority of people totally understand it..." - Peter Kingwill
"It is not much of a burden for what they are receiving – toilet facilities, the best hardstanding and excellent car parking," he added.
“I am sorry if some people feel upset by it – none of us like having to pay for things if we haven’t had to pay for it before.
“In the main, the majority of people totally understand it and do not think it is surprising that there is an entrance charge.
“It is appropriate to generate some income that sustains the car boot sale.”
Mr Kingwill says there are no plans to introduce an entrance fee to the Saturday fair.
The Sunday charge will be introduced from February 4.
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