Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Greens push for revamped, smaller Lancaster Market

Lancaster MarketGreen councillors will argue that Lancaster Market should not be closed tomorrow when a cabinet proposal is put to Full Council - arguing it should continue, albeit as a smaller operation in partnership with a new single retailer.

The Green Party proposal is based on suggestions from the market traders that they're moved to the top floor of the Market building and that a single trader would then take over the building's ground floor.

"The Council has been looking for a single trader for the whole market for two years now," explains Coun Barry, "and has failed to find one except for the current candidate, ASCO, who I and many others fear would be too much of a financial risk.

"The idea suggested by the market traders has the advantage of reducing the financial burden of the market but also keeping the traders in business."

The proposal also has the support Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate Gina Dowding, who argues the market is an important provider of local jobs.

"It's the heart of Lancaster," she feels, "and should be something that the Council and city should be supporting and be given every help to thrive and prosper."

The text of the motion is as follows:

1.  Because of the concerns about:

The financial viability of the proposed sole trader to occupy the full market; The loss of existing businesses and jobs in Lancaster Market and; The current market deficit

Full Council does not approve the revenue budget and capital programme proposals specifically relating to the letting of Lancaster Market hall to a single retailer and therefore does not approve the closure of the market.

2. Instead, Council recommends  that Cabinet  considers the following proposal:

a) That works are undertaken to make the ground floor of the existing market suitable for a sole trader;

b) That work is undertaken to allow the first floor to be occupied by the existing market traders, which may involve filling in of the central void, repositioning of the escalator and glazing of the new entrance from Marketgate shopping centre

c) That new leases are given to tenants to occupy the first floor at a revised market rate

d)  That all of the above proposals should be the subject of a sound business case which will need to be brought back to members before 31 March 2010.   

3.  That any decision in line with recommendation 2 above that falls outside of the budget and policy framework be subject to Council approval, for consideration at a future meeting.

4. Recommendations 2 to 4 on page 10 of the agenda would need to be "as amended" for the above.

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