Board recommends new approach on Market Hall
THE MARKET Hall took a step closer to safety today (Friday) after councillors agreed to recommend a new approach to the controversial saga.
It would see Harborough District Council’s Adam and Eve Street HQ re-developed without the need to lease the Market Hall to a big-name retailer.
The new option, explained in the Mail yesterday, would use money from reserves or borrowing to help pay for the multi-million pound re-development plan.
Rental income from leasing shops and office space at the new-look council building and a contribution from Leicestershire County Council would also fund the scheme.
Increased income from the Market Hall, which would be managed in a commercial way, would also help fund the scheme.
Harborough District Council’s cross-party Transformation Board decided today to recommend the option to full council.
A final decision will be made on April 30.
If the council takes this approach the market would stay in the Market Hall but a commercial partner would be found in a bid to deliver a better financial return.
However there is a chance the council could revert to its original preferred option - to find a big retailer for the Market Hall - if it cannot find a commercial partner to manage the hall.
Much of today’s meeting was held behind closed doors due to commercial sensitivities.
But in a statement read out after councillors had voted on the decision, council leader Mike Rook, who also chairs the Transformation Board, said: “This is a great opportunity to get better value for local people without relocating the market so it’s something everyone in the district should get behind.
“We can’t go on wasting money on surplus space in the council headquarters and a Market Hall that isn’t financially viable.
“If we find a reliable partner that can make the Market Hall pay, and if councillors agree this is the best way forward, it will mean a big shake up and plenty of hard work. But that should come as no surprise: doing nothing has never been an option.”
Trader John Cleaver said after the meeting: “It’s perfect. This is what we’ve been asking for and we’ve got to be happy with the result.”
If the council goes ahead on April 30 with the recommendation of the Transformation Board it will give officers the go ahead to take the redevelopment plans to tender stage, prepare a detailed financial appraisal and seek the necessary planning consents.
If no one comes forward to deliver commercial value from the Market Hall, or the detailed financial appraisal unearths problems, then the council may revert to another course of action in which the Market Hall is commercially leased and the market is relocated.
This would be subject to a decision by Full Council.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 28 mph
Wind direction: North