Moving traders ‘a betrayal’, says former conservation officer
A FORMER conservation officer who was one of those behind the development of the Market Hall in 1993 says she feels ‘betrayed’ by council plans to move traders.
Rosalind Willatts worked for Harborough District Council as its conservation officer for 22 years until her role was made redundant in 2009.
In a 1,000-word letter to the Mail this week, an abridged version of which is published on page 20, Miss Willatts warns moving the market will lead to its demise.
The letter states: “Any suggestion of the closure of the Market Hall is a betrayal of the town of Harborough by the body in whom the market and the whole wellbeing of the town, its heritage and vitality, is now vested - Harborough District Council.
“The market has been the core activity of the town for more than eight centuries.
“To wrest the market from the town denies that history which has come to give the town its personality and would leave it much diminished.
“To reduce so drastically the opportunities for independent businesses to exist, flourish and to survive in times of general economic depression is reprehensible.
“The loss of the market, apart from wrenching the historic heart from the town, would seriously reduce the services and choice offered to the local public.
“The loss of the Market Hall at the heart of the town cannot be softened by the sop of an allegorical location away from the centre, or by providing a dingy and sunless corner of a car park in Fox Yard.
“Were the market hall to close, so would die some 70 or more small businesses. So would die the spirit of the town.”
Council leader Michael Rook said: “The market is a great asset for the town and something that we’re determined to enhance and support for the future.
“Let me be very clear. We are not planning to close the market.
“But people need to wake up to some financial realities. We need to save millions of pounds in the coming years.
“We can’t expect local people across the district to subsidise the current tenants of the Market Hall through their council tax.
“I am delighted that so many people care about the market but would ask them to wait and see the proposals for alternative locations we are putting forward before making a decision.
“If we work together, with the traders and local people, we can find a viable and exciting way forward for the market, enhance the prosperity of the town centre and save money.
“We have a duty to all our taxpayers to get the best out of our property assets.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Market Harborough
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west