Our thriving town is being ruined by 'ridiculous' Christmas market opening in SEPTEMBER – all they care about is money | The Sun

FRUSTRATED locals say they don't want a 'ridiculous' Christmas market opening in their town three months before the holidays.

Residents living in Battlesbridge, Essex, said it's ruining their town and owners just want to "make money".

Meadow Croft Garden Centre in Woodham Road is planning to host a huge German Christmas market this September.

The festive fair has become popular for being the first one to open in the UK this year.

But neighbours are less than impressed. 

Outraged locals claim the plans are "crazy" and Christmas can't start three months early.

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Dad of two, Jo Elgie, 54, told The Sun: “It's ridiculous that it’s starting in September. I am okay with Christmas but at the given time.

"It’s madness, doesn’t make any sense.”

The garden centre told locals the fair is a German market and the Christmas trees won't be up until the end of autumn.

Plant assistant Michael Bodman said: "Our Christmas decorations are set up in a different space and they don’t come out until later."

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But residents say it is just a marketing strategy to "attract customers".

Mr Elgie fumed: "I have been to a real one in Germany and the ones here in the UK are not the same.

"It is a money-making exercise just like Christmas has become nowadays."

Another neighbour, Steve Tertre, 62, added: "These businesses like to lure people in, especially with the cost of living crisis."

Hundreds of people are expected to visit the 32 stalls with artisan goods – which include food, beer, handcrafted decorations, and cuckoo clocks sourced from Germany.

However, neighbours are concerned drivers flocking to the town might block the streets and cause dangerous traffic in the highways.

Mr Elgie slammed: "[The market] is such a draw for a lot of people and it's so busy. Even when you drive past you can see too many people.

“The traffic is heavier during the market period.”

Despite the criticism some residents can't wait and claim "it's never too early" for the festive season.

Fellow neighbour Tasha Bennett said: "It’s never too early for Christmas. The market is magical. They have all the stalls and a whole room of lights which looks beautiful.

"We live next door so we can walk there. But it gets busy down the 60mh road which makes people slow down.”

The Meadow Croft Garden Manager said the market is an opportunity for shoppers to get their presents early.

Assistant manager Linn Charlack said: "There are many people that would want to spread the cost of Christmas and we get people coming back week after week."

“This year we have new ornaments, candy canes, and a new waffle-flavoured liquor.”

The centre has reassured locals they're making sure to provide enough parking to avoid traffic.

Meadow Croft Garden Centre manager Sara Stephensen added: "We've build extra space for car parking for 28 days and we are increasing the number of late nights so we can cope with the amount of people coming.

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“This year we have a bigger Christmas launch with a better display. It's going to be spectacular.”

The market is free to attend and it will be open every day from September 14 to December 24, 2023.

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