Residents to have their say on council’s plans to buy Royston market place

PUBLISHED: 09:05 28 February 2014

The town council wants to buy land where Royston market is located

The town council wants to buy land where Royston market is located

Archant

The people of Royston will get a chance to have their say on whether the town council should “take history by the hand” and purchase Royston’s market place.

As reported in The Crow, the town council is looking to purchase Market Hill, where the market is based, as it is being put up for sale by its current owner.

To do this, they will need to take out a £350,000 loan, with the £19,000 a year repayments being covered by the increase in council tax that was announced in January.

Before the loan is taken, councillors want to hear from as many people as possible as to whether purchasing the market is the right thing to do.

At a meeting of the council’s finance committee, held on Monday, Cllr F John Smith said: “It would cost us £4,000 more a year than the amount we’re paying at present. We’re not talking about an extra £19,000.

“It’s been an 851 year wait to own the market, and we need to take history by the hand and go for it.”

Town Clerk Susan Thornton-Bjork told the meeting that they would have to seek approval from central government before being able to apply for the loan.

Consultation will also need to take place, and the market purchase will be discussed at the town meeting on Thursday, March 13, at the town hall.

Members of the finance committee expressed their support for taking out the loan, and called for as many people as possible to come along to the town meeting and express their views.

Cllr Smith added: “We need to know the reaction of the public to what we are proposing, and that will give us an indication of the way some people are thinking.

“So far, the people I have spoken to about the purchase have all said ‘yes please’ or ‘about time’.”

Cllr Mike Harrison said: “If we don’t purchase the market place someone else will. We’ve got a ten-year lease, but after that what would the new owner do with it?”

*What do you think? Do you back the town council’s purchase of Market Hill? Email postbag@royston-crow.co.uk.

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