British Car Auctions, which owns the land the market is held upon, confirmed the market will no longer run due to a decline in visitors.
Blackbushe Market has been closed with immediate effect, in a shock announcement by the landowner.
British Car Auctions (BCA), which has owned the land since 1984, confirmed on Tuesday (May 5) that the market will no longer take place due to a decline in trade.
It means Sunday’s market on May 3 was the last one, with stallholders saying the decision came out of the blue to them.
In a statement, BCA said: “BCA has confirmed the closure of Blackbushe Sunday Market following consultation with employees.
“The closure comes as a result of the long-term decline in numbers of stallholders and customers.”
Rumours of the market’s imminent closure have been circulating via social media since January, however BCA vehemently denied there was any truth in them.
At the time, BCA even began making regular announcements over the market’s PA refuting rumours that it would close, which continued into the last few weeks.
Despite this, traders were told that the market had been cancelled with immediate effect on Tuesday morning.
Keith Davis from Chiddingfold runs Outdoor Country Wear and has been a stallholder at the market for 35 years.
Mr Davis said: “Sellers and buyers will turn up from all over the country (on Sunday) and they won’t know what’s going on.
“Many of the traders have mortgages to pay and children to feed. They rely on the market to be able to do that. They have customers lined up for the weekend, but now they won’t be there.
“Why didn’t they (BCA) tell us last Sunday? I think it’s because they didn’t want us getting together to stop it. The way they’ve dealt with this is very underhand.
“I’ve heard there are plans to redevelop the site, but we were always told that it is common land and it couldn’t be built on.
“It’s a big shock for the traders who have been at Blackbushe long-term. We supported the market through the lean winter months and now, when business is picking up, they shut it down.
“Many of the traders will struggle to get a spot at any other Sunday market now, because they were given no warning that Blackbushe would close.
“This used to be the biggest and best market in the south east, but it has been let go of due to a lack of interest by the owner. This is really unfair on the people who make a living from the market.
“As traders, we chat to people who might not have many opportunities to get out and meet people. We enjoy a bit of banter with everyone and we do a lot of good that way.”
by Tara O’Connor getHAMPSHIRE 5th May 2015