Town council takes over running of Royston market

PUBLISHED: 11:32 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:49 11 May 2010

SETTING OUT THEIR STALL: Cllr Ian Knighton, portfolio holder for markets, hands over to Cllr Lynn Berry, leader of Royston Town Council, with, from right, Geraint Burnell, town centre manager, Susan T

SETTING OUT THEIR STALL: Cllr Ian Knighton, portfolio holder for markets, hands over to Cllr Lynn Berry, leader of Royston Town Council, with, from right, Geraint Burnell, town centre manager, Susan T

THE running of Royston market was handed over to Royston Town Council yesterday (Wednesday). But the town council will not begin running the operation until August 1. The town council has taken over the market from North Herts District Council, which more

THE running of Royston market was handed over to Royston Town Council yesterday (Wednesday).

But the town council will not begin running the operation until August 1.

The town council has taken over the market from North Herts District Council, which more than a year ago said it wanted to "privatise" the operation.

Although the town council will have control of the venture, it is understood for at least the next three years the district council will be paying a subsidy to keep the market running.

In a short handing-over ceremony under the hoardings of a greengrocery stall, Cllr Ian Knighton, the district council's portfolio holder responsible for markets, said the transfer of responsibilty was a "historic occasion".

"The market has been important for Royston's economy for many centuries and we are all working together to keep it that way," he said.

"The district council believes the town council and the traders themselves can best provide the impetus the market needs.

"They are part of the community and are ideally placed to know what the community needs."

He promised that the district council would give its "full support" to the venture.

"This is a positive move for us all," he added.

Cllr Lynn Berry, leader of the town council and chairman of its finance committee, said: "The market should now become something of which the people of Royston can be proud.

"I hope the traders and the community will continue to support and use this historic part of Royston. We are, after all, a charter market town and should be proud of it."

The decision for the town council to take over the market came after months of talks.

An original application was turned down and then the town council was told to re-submit its application.

The second application was eventually accepted by the district council when it said that the town council was the "preferred bidder".

Last month, the town council set up a sub-committee which would include members and town centre manager Geraint Burnell.

Mr Burnell said then that he was "delighted" that the town council had been awarded the contract.

He continued: "We are determined to do all we can to attract more traders."

During a debate on the market, Cllr Rod Kennedy said the awarding of the contract to the town council was "an opportunity that has to be seized".

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