By Matthew Gooding
Friday, September 6, 2013
ROYSTON Town Council is considering a £275,000 bid to acquire the land where Royston Market is held and protect it for future generations.
The town council took full control of the twice-weekly market, in Market Hill, Royston, last month, and has a ten-year lease on the land, which is used as a car park during the rest of the week.
However, MPK Holdings, who own the site, are putting it up for sale, and at a meeting of the Town Council on Monday councillors agreed to look into feasibility of trying to purchase the land.
Cllr Bob Smith, Royston’s mayor, said: “The initial price of £275,000 has been given to us by the estate agent that MPK Holdings is using. We’ve agreed to let the council’s finance committee look at how we might raise the money to buy it.
“We’ve got a ten-year lease on the land but obviously the concern is what happens after ten years? We don’t want to see any development there as we believe the market hill and the car park are important for the town, but we need to explore the various options available to us for funding.”
As reported in The Crow, the town council has been operating the market as an agent of North Herts District Council for several years, but is no in sole charge of the facility. Currently they pay £15,000 a year to rent the Market Hill site, and receive all revenue from car parking charges.
The town council has also put in an application to register the site as an asset of community interest. If successful this will mean no sale can go ahead until the council has had a chance to put their bid together on behalf of the Royston community.
Cllr Lindsay Davidson said: “Market Hill is a vital space in the town and we can’t afford to let it go by the by. We’re at a very early stage but we’re already looking at how we can find the money. There is funding available for schemes like this, and we hope the town will get behind us in this bid.”