Two pieces of information regarding today’s High Street Market tempted me into the Town Centre this morning.  The first tweet suggested that not all of the market traders had attended today.

Almost at the same time, the Dartford Markets Facebook page was updated with the following message

I arrived in the Town Centre at around 10.30; yes, it was cold and breezy but also dry and quite bright.  A quick count of the number of stalls revealed that there were just short of 40 traders, a number well down on the figure of 55 as revealed by Dartford Borough Council in December.

As indicated in the Dartford Markets post, the car park behind Iceland was not being used for the market and the large freezer lorry was occupying a space in front of Boots.  Whether this closure of the Food Court is going to be a permanent fixture or if it is a one-off remains to be seen.  There were still gaps between the pitches (these gaps would have been even more apparent if the Iceland car park had been used for the market).

I don’t know whether the reduced number of traders was just for today.  If so did DBC’s market officers know about this in advance or did the weather forecast mean some traders simply stayed at home?  If it is the latter, in a week when DBC  announced a ‘Fall in love with Dartford Shopping‘ campaign, hopefully those absent market traders will also heed their words.

In November, we published an editorial ‘Has Dartford Town Centre Turned the Corner?‘.  A comment was added to this suggesting that some market traders had indicated that they would be leaving after Christmas because of the extended hours with no extra takings.  Hopefully, this will not be the case as Dartford in the past has had a thriving market and this should continue.

Perhaps today was a one-off; I hope so.  I also hope that the decision taken by Councillor Kite, Mr Harris and the Town Centre Partners to relocate the market to the High Street will not be to the detriment of Dartford.


Kent Police is investigating an incident where the window of a bus carrying passengers in Dartford was smashed.  It was reported that a bus was travelling along the A226 London Road, in Stone, when at about 6pm on 25 January, a lump of concrete smashed through a window and landed on a passenger.  The passenger, a woman in her 40s, went to hospital with glass fragments in her eye.  PC Mark Newman, investigating officer at Kent Police, said: `Fortunately no one suffered serious injuries from this incident. One passenger was taken to hospital and had glass fragments flushed out of her eyes.  The bus was travelling at a busy time of the day in London Road, near the junction with Tollgate Road, so it’s likely there would have been a number of motorists and pedestrians in the area at the time of the incident. I would encourage anyone who might have information that could help with our ongoing enquiries to contact police.’  Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact PC Mark Newman at Kent Police by calling 01474 362609 and quoting reference XY/002899/15.  Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Holiday Projects at the Orchard Theatre – A chance for 7-11 year olds to take part in a series of workshops.  On Tuesday 17 February, the subject will be drama; Wednesday 18 February, dance and on Thursday 19 February arts and crafts.

World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading that takes place on 23 April.  It sees passionate volunteers give out hundreds of thousands of books in their communities to share their love of reading with people who don’t read regularly or own books.  World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers to help give them an equal chance in life.  In honour of World Book Night, the Dartford Book Exchange will run from 2-22 April.  Please bring any unwanted books in good condition to Stephen Oliver’s Studio & Gallery in the Orchards Centre, where you may swap them for any other donated books.  On 23 April any leftover books will be donated to local organisations in need of books.  If you represent an organisation (such as a care home or day centre) which would like to receive some of the books, please contact Kelly at kgoldsworthy@hotmail.com.  From 7pm on 23 April,  there will be a further Book Exchange event at Stone Pavilion. Also, if you are an author who would like to take part, please get in touch.

Dartford Borough Council has pushed the button on £180,000 of refurbishments at The Orchard Theatre to improve the experience for theatregoers – details from dartford.gov.uk 

A 20-year-old man from Greenhithe has been charged with robbery and assault after a Swanscombe councillor was beaten-up yards from his front door in November last year -newsshopper.co.uk  

Three-month curfew for drunken Swanscombe thug who attacked cabbie – kentonline.co.uk 

Dartford rapist jailed for sex attack – kentonline.co.uk 


Sunday 8 February – Live music at lunchtime: The Geoff Everett Blues Band at The Ship, Southfleet




Editorial: Dartford Matters response to Dartford UKIP (including further added comment)

Wednesday 4th February – Dartford News and Tweets, part 2 (includes added comments)

About the author

Andy Clark is retired after a long career at Lloyds Register and subsequently the Civil Service. He has lived in Dartford for his entire life.

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