Street march to save Market Hall confirmed

TRADERS will march from Harborough’s indoor Market Hall to the Square in a protest against council proposals to move the market.

They are hoping the event - planned for Saturday, March 17 - will demonstrate to Harborough District Council the strength of feeling over the issue.

Traders and their supporters plan to gather at the Northampton Road hall at 11.30am before walking to The Square for midday.

Stall-holder Jane Cleaver said it is hoped the group will be accompanied by a band.

She added: “We’re hoping to have as many people as possible there to support us.

“We’ve got lots of posters and leaflets to hand out and there will be banners on the day.”

The council revealed earlier this year proposals to attract a big-name retailer to lease the Market Hall to provide funds to regenerate its headquarters in Adam and Eve Street.

The plans on the table would see traders moved to Fox Yard at the back of the headquarters, with the lower floors of the building developed for retail use.

But it has proved one of the most contentious issues to hit the town in recent years.

The Mail has been inundated with letters on the subject – the vast majority speaking oput against the proposals.

And a petition organised by traders and their supporters has now garnered 12,000 signatures.

The council’s Lib Dem group this week called for a re-think, saying £2.2m earmarked in reserves to buy the Great Bowden waste site should be ploughed into an alternative scheme.

Though next month’s protest is for all intents and purposes a march, it is officially being called a public meeting to avoid the additional rules and regulations that would come with labelling it a ‘march’.

Market committee vice-chairman John Cleaver said: “The police are aware of what we plan to do and they’re satisfied with it.

“We’re inviting the public to come along to hear what we have to say about why we want to stay in the Market Hall.

“We want to show the council the support we have from the people of Harborough.”

A full business case is being prepared for the proposals ahead of a final decision by the council in the spring.