Traders hopeful £400,000 market investment will drive business
Traders are hopeful they can work with Harborough District Council on a £400,000 project to improve the indoor Market Hall.
But concerns remain about the viability of the authority’s plans to open the hall seven days a week following a meeting this week.
And stall-holders say they remain in the dark over exactly what improvements will be made at the 20-year-old building.
Harborough Council had proposed leasing the hall in Northampton Road to a major retailer and moving the market elsewhere in town.
But the plan was scrapped last year and councillors voted instead to invest £410,000 in the hall in a bid to make the market there more profitable.
Traders expressed frustration last week that no progress had been made on the project since the money was promised last October.
Traders were told during a meeting with the council this week the delay had been caused by the authority’s move out of its headquarters in Adam and Eve Street while the building undergoes a £5.75m transformation.
Traders’ spokesman John Cleaver told the Mail: “We were meant to have meetings every month but we’ve not had one since October. However they will resume now. We’ve been told there is £400,000 to spend but the council has not been able to tell us what they’re going to spend the money on.
“We do know the improvement work will go out to tender and the plan is for it to be worked on between July and October.
“That doesn’t mean to say we will be closed for that period but it may be closed for a period of time.
“The council is hoping to make the Market Hall more atractive to the general public and the plan is to open it seven days a week - six days as a general market and one day as an antiques/collectors market.
“We’ve come away knowing very little really but we’ve been promised that at the next meeting they will tell us what the plan is to be.
“We’re hopeful and they’re hopeful. I’m a little concerned they’ve not consulted us to get our ideas on how it should be run but providing the plan they come up with is acceptable and to our advantage then we will be supporting them .
“We’ve offered them our full support.”
Traders spoken to by the Mail said there were worries over opening the market seven days a week, because it would not allow time to pack up and set up stalls.
They also want the toilets on the side of the hall reopened and the entrance changed so it opens into the hall, to help drive footfall.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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