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Warning car boot sales could fail as council retains supervisor for Fawcett’s Field in New Milton at extra cost

TIME may be running out for New Milton’s car boot sales after a contentious fee for a supervisor on site was retained.

Lions club vice chair Alan Watson warned at least one of the charitable groups which run the popular community fixture of over 25 years at Fawcett’s Field was expected to pull out due to the expense.

“I just fear that in the future this community activity is set to disappear and that makes me sad,” he told the A&T.

Car boot sales have taken place at Fawcett's Field for more than 25 years
Car boot sales have taken place at Fawcett's Field for more than 25 years

As previously reported, Mr Watson had urged New Milton Town Council to drop the recently imposed fee for a superintendent to unlock and lock the gate.

But a recent executive committee meeting saw members decide to retain this, saying it was necessary to ensure its duty of care was fulfilled.

The supervisor was needed to identify potential risks at the council-owned site, they said, and control them where possible.

This will incur a £100 charge per car boot sale, whereas prior to the supervisor being employed the fee was £45 per event.

Responding to the ruling, Mr Watson said he understood the council’s reasoning but felt it was “not very community minded”.

The Lions Club is among local groups which run the car boot sales on Sundays from April to September.

New Milton and Barton-on-Sea RNLI, Men’s Shed and the Maritime Volunteer Service have also taken on the weekly slots.

Mr Watson reiterated his warning that the RNLI group looked set to pull out due to the extra cost, leaving around half a dozen unfilled spaces.

He previously told councillors the rescue charity had worked out it could raise more funds from a single quiz night than by running six car boot sales.

“My personal view is that we’re likely to see the end of the car boot sales,” he told the A&T.

“My fear is that the town council will not be able to fill all the available slots unless some more groups become interested.

“The problem is if we don’t have this every Sunday, the impetus goes. The public, who keeps these things going by visiting and buying things, won’t know if one is going on or not.

“If there are only sporadic events, I think they’ll fail.”

Mr Watson added the Lions Club had not yet discussed its position on the matter, but it was due to meet later this month.

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