Published: 16:55, 12 December 2020
| Updated: 17:55, 13 December 2020
A Christmas market has been shut down early after an order from Kent County Council.
The Broadstairs festive fair, on Victoria Parade, was supposed to run for three days, from Thursday, December 11, until Sunday at 5pm, but has closed today after a public health official said the event represented a "serious and imminent threat to public health".
Thanet's weekly coronavirus rates per 100,000 is at 412.9, from December 2 to December 9, down 28.2 in the last seven days. Kent's rate as a whole is 392.6.
Yesterday evening, Kent County Council (KCC) ordered the event's closure.
According to KCC documents, the event was originally proposed, and not objected to, in August when Kent was then in tier 1 restrictions.
The organisers submitted information in relation to their plans for an event in a tier 3 area to Thanet District Council on December 8.
A site visit was carried out by Trading Standards, Thanet District Council and a public health consultant yesterday morning.
The document says: "Following that visit there remained no confidence that sufficient measures were possible to run a safe event."
An assessment carried out by a public health specialist concluded the event was likely to encourage a large gathering of more than 500 people and cited the Thanet coronavirus rate.
The director of public health then ruled the event should not proceed.
The market was organised by Zoom Events, which said on its website that it had worked with traders to put in place a range of extra sanitation and social distancing measures to help keep everyone safe, in respect of coronavirus.
Unlike previous years, there has been no bar, entertainment, seating area or rides.
The website said there would be a one-way system and extra security and site personnel to provide advice and enforce social distancing measures.
'Local residents have been divided on whether this market should have taken place at all...'
Cllr Ruth Bailey, Viking ward member, said on her Facebook page, in response to the news: "As a ward councillor I have been disappointed with the lack of information about both the staging and the closing of this event.
"I know from my mailbag that local residents have been divided on whether this market should have taken place at all and I have spent this week endeavouring to seek more information.
"Whatever your views, I hope that anyone who was planning to attend the market will still come and spend their money in the town. "
In October, Circus Zyair, based at Paddock Wood's Hop Farm, was forced to cancel four days of shows in half term after KCC said inadequate safety measures were in place.
The emergency closure of socially distanced performances at the 400-acre country park near Tonbridge led to five job cuts and was said to have cost the organisers more than £100,000.
Disappointed families were turned away at the last minute despite the local authority, Tonbridge and Malling council, approving the risk assessment ahead of its opening night on October 23.
A U-turn was made by KCC four days later following a site visit. Officials were "assured" the event could restart after "layout changes" were made.