Market: We can’t let it be allowed to die’

PUBLISHED: 12:40 27 September 2007 | UPDATED: 15:16 12 May 2010

Cllr Rod Kennedy

Cllr Rod Kennedy

THE running of Royston market is being re-examined after ALL tender bids to take over the operation were rejected. Bids to run the twice-a-week included a joint submission from Royston Town Council and the Royston Town Centre Forum. North Herts District C

Cllr Bill Prime

THE running of Royston market is being re-examined after ALL tender bids to take over the operation were rejected.

Bids to run the twice-a-week included a joint submission from Royston Town Council and the Royston Town Centre Forum.

North Herts District Council had spent more than a month examining the tender bids which would have seen a private operator take over the market.

In a short statement yesterday (Wednesday) the district council said: "Following a tendering process to contract out the long-term management of Royston market, the district council is currently advising the bidders of the situation and will make a statement once this has been done."

Royston's town centre manager Geraint Burnell learned of the decision last week when he met officers at the district council.

And in a report to the town council on Monday evening, Mr Burnell said that he has been told that the bid showed "too much of a variance" in costings.

In other words, the costs the district council was expected to see on the market were too different from the joint bid.

Mr Burnell added in his report that the district council "refused to make any comment" on turning down the bid.

Cllr Rod Kennedy said the joint bid was "realistic to bring the market back to the standard it should be".

He continued: "I trust the market will continue. We can't let it be allowed to die."

Cllr Kennedy claimed that in recent years the district council had not given the market the support it needed.

"It's in a state of decline and needs investment and hard work," he said. "Our tender was realistic to bring the market to a state of good health."

He pointed out, however, that the town council could not intercede on the tender process. But, he said, it should "make some comment about our disquiet".

Cllr Kennedy added: "We have to express our concerns about the market. It is vitally important that the market continues."

Cllr Bill Prime claimed in recent years that there had been a lack of marketing for the market and that the bid from the town council and town centre forum had been "dismissed out of hand".

And Cllr Lindsay Davidson said: "Is this an exercise to close the market? We have to marshal our defences and have our plans in place."

Town councillors were expected to raise concerns over the market at a meeting of the district council's Royston area committee last night (Wednesday).

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