A row has broken out after an international market in Ellon was cancelled at the last minute following a blunder over missing paperwork.
Ellon Community Council, who were promoting the event, were setting up road closures for the European food and craft market in Bridge Street on Sunday, only to be informed by the police that the event would not go ahead.
However, community leaders maintain that event organisers Traditional Market Ltd and Aberdeenshire Council knew of the cancellation two days earlier, but did not inform them.
Ellon Community Council chairman Sandy McDougall told the Times: “We are obviously very disappointed that the market didn’t go ahead.
“The main issue we have is that both the market company and Aberdeenshire Council knew on Friday at 1pm that it wasn’t going ahead but neither of them told us.
“Community council members were putting up the road closures on Sunday at 8am on the day of the event when the police told them that the market was no longer happening. It was rather surprising to hear that it all went wrong.
“Surely it would have been common courtesy for either of the organisations to let other people know.
“We have asked both Aberdeenshire Council and organisers, Traditional Market Ltd to explain what happened but the two explanations don’t tie up.”
Intern in charge of the UK market, Estelle Ruffier, said: “There was a problem with the licencing department, which tried to send us a message because some papers were missing, but they made a mistake in our email address so we never received it.
“Finally someone from this department called us last Tuesday, telling us that we had to immediately send the papers, and this is what we did. Our traders tried to set up on Sunday but the police stopped them.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said the organisers of the market had failed to send documentation to the council’s Environmental Health department and as a Certificate of Compliance was not submitted to the council a licence could not be issued.
Ellon Community Council came under fire on social media over the late cancellation of the event.
Mr McDougall stressed that the community council were not the event organisers.
He said: “The market company were organising the event - not the community council - we were only promoting it.
“Ellon Community Council will not actively promote a European Market in the future unless we have complete control of it.”
Community council treasurer, Mark Grant, added: “We are disappointed that the people of Ellon were denied an opportunity to enjoy the market. The neighbouring authority, Moray, granted the same organiser a licence to operate in Lossiemouth on Friday so it is difficult to understand why Aberdeenshire Council would not do likewise two days later.”
Local politicians were also dismayed by the cancellation.
Councillor Gillian Owen said: “The community council had worked really hard to promote this and get it added to the calendar so I feel for them. I must apologise to all those who came along only to be disappointed.”
Councillor Rob Merson also said that he was very disappointed that the market was cancelled as it seemed to attract a number of shoppers to the town centre.
He added: “However, Ellon does have a significant range of town centre retail outlets of all types which perhaps do not receive the volume of custom which might be expected of a town this size.
“I would therefore encourage our local residents, and visitors to Ellon, to explore more fully what we already have on our own doorstep.”