Town council takes over market
COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead for Royston Town Council to take over running the market. The decision came at an extraordinary council meeting on Monday evening – at which The Crow was the only local newspaper to attend – when the town council accept
COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead for Royston Town Council to take over running the market.
The decision came at an extraordinary council meeting on Monday evening - at which The Crow was the only local newspaper to attend - when the town council accepted a "deal" to run the operation.
The contract had been drawn up after long-running talks between the town council and North Herts District Council.
The long-running saga over "privatising" the market stretches over more than 12 months when the district council decided to "privatise" the twice-a-week operation as part of its budget cuts.
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But although the district council will not have responsibility for the market it is believed that it will subsidise the operation over a three-year period.
The town council, meanwhile, has set up a sub-committee to run the market which will include as members town centre manager Geraint Burnell and the still to be appointed market manager.
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Councillors decided to give approval to the contract after a recommendation from its Finance committee to accept the deal.
The Finance committee met behind-closed-doors earlier on Monday evening to examine the details of the contract which had been drawn up after the district council accepted a joint bid from the town council and the Royston Town Centre Forum to take over the market.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Burnell said: "We are determined to do all that we can to attract more traders."
He said he was "delighted" that the town council had been given the contract.
"The award of this contract is hopefully the first of many exciting initiatives to come forward in the near future to re-vitalise the fortunes of the town centre."
Cllr Lynn Berry, leader of the town council, said: "We look forward to working with the existing market traders and hope to attract new traders so that the market can once again play a major role in the town centre's prosperity."
And Royston's mayor Cllr Paul Grimes said: "It is vital that our market is given every opportunity to flourish and grow.
"I believe that the success of this bid can in time provide a solid basis for the future prosperity of our town."
Earlier during a debate on the issue, Cllr Rod Kennedy, who was on the working party looking at the town council's bid for the market contract, said: "We can do no worse with the market - and we can do better."
And he added: "It's an opportunity that has to be seized."
Cllr Robert Inwood described the decision as "a turning point for the market".
Cllr Ian Knighton, portfolio holder responsible for markets on North Herts District Council, said: "Although this has been a lengthy process I am sure we have reached the right answer in the end.
"I have every confidence that the new local management of the market will ensure it has a prosperous future," he said.
Cllr Knighton added: "The district council is committed to the prosperity and vibrancy of Royston town centre and this will help achieve that aim.