THE Residents and Traders Association of Corringham met to celebrate as their plans for a specialist market in the town moved closer – as a rival market bid dropped out of the running.

The meeting at St John’s Hall last Thursday took place as it emerged an unpopular bid by the Outdoor Market Group for a three-day a week 24-stall market has been scrapped.

Both market bids were approved by Thurrock Council’s planning committee in March and were due to apply for licenses befoe the OMG bid – led by Robert Wong, from Stanford-Le-Hope – fell through.

Deborah Stewart, secretary of the Resident and Traders Association, which formed off the back of opposition to the OMG plans, which were unpopular with traders and residents in the town centre, said: “This has been a community space for over 60 years, it is all family orientated.

“The market would have been in their front gardens. There were over 1,600 signatures on a petition opposing the Outdoor Market Group market that a resident had started.”

A statement made last week on the OMG Facebook page, which had attracted some support as plans were approved, said: “It is with regret we have to announce we will not be continuing with the market plans due to several factors, including personal reasons.

“This has been a hard decision to make but after much deliberation, we believe this is the best course of action. We would like to thank everyone for their help and support throughout the process.”

But the Association is ploughing ahead with its plans for a specialist once-a-month market, which will include craft and charity stalls and the organisation of community events like the Easter Egg hunt which took place earlier in the year.

Mrs Stewart, who described the Association as being on “a learning curve” at the moment, said: “We want something that is interesting and fun to do. We are not profit making and everybody gets a say.

“Everybody in that room on Thursday was supportive, they thought it was a great idea.”

The association has 75 members, 19 of whom are shop keepers. Members of the community who were not aware of the plans at first have wanted to get involved since.

They pay a £5 membership fee and traders £50, which goes towards events, licensing and planning. All work is voluntary.

Thurrock councillor Mark Coxshall, who chaired the meeting, said: “It was to congratulate the team and discuss moving forward. We discussed what we want to do in the town now we have got it.

“The local community getting together without the help of the council can achieve a great deal.”