Extreme weather forced Kingson’s German Christmas market to close several hours early on Thursday – one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas.
The market offers an alternative to the shopping centres in Kingston as well as festive food and drink options, but lay abandoned following severe weather warnings for the majority of the south of England.
Gordon Buller who hires the space from town management company Kingston First was forced to close the market early after similar markets on the South Bank, Southampton and Portsmouth were declared dangerous when high winds tore down decorations and threatened stalls.
Mr Buller said,”We proofed units and our stalls shown no signs of damage, but in order to ensure the safety of our visitors, we closed the market early. Its not in our interest to close early, but the main aim is to create a family event which is safe for the young and old to attend.”
Other Christmas events in the market square went ahead, while the market lay closed, despite Thursday usually being the late night shopping evening which attracts a higher interest in the Christmas market.
Mr Buller commented on the potential effect the closure could have on the financial success of the market, but was confident that they would be back up and running by Friday, and he said, “We are sure Kingstonians love the market, and will hopefully visit and support us up to Christmas.”
These warnings closely followed reports that the North of England and Scotland have experienced 150mph winds, bridge closures, and overturned lorries as it was battered by a storm over the past day.