A HUGE food festival is moving out of Petersfield into one of Hampshire’s most treasured beauty spots.
Petersfield Festival of Food and Drink – which attracted around 20,000 visitors to the town’s streets every year – is moving to Queen Elizabeth Country Park, just north of Clanfield.
Organisers say town politics and the red tape organising an event in the centre of Petersfield led to the decision.
Festival organiser Philippa Steward said while many traders supported the event, some did not.She said: ‘One person we spoke to said the festival would cause their sales to go down – yet their shop only opened in January, seven months after the last festival had been held.
‘All little market towns are struggling for business at the moment and towns like Petersfield need to do everything they can to get people to visit them.
‘Then it is up to the traders to keep people coming here.
‘There has been a lot of political nonsense surrounding the event – and we have been quite upset by it.’
Research suggests the festival was worth up to £3m to Petersfield in terms of revenue for stallholders and shops and repeat business.
The festival will take place on the weekend of June 15 and 16.
Organisers hope the new venue, at the foot of Butser Hill, will allow the event to grow further.
The country park, just off the A3, has coped with 100,000 visitors and will provide free parking.
Mrs Steward added: ‘We were approached by a number of places in East Hampshire keen to take this festival away from Petersfield but the country park is the ideal new home.’