Thoughts from the Mayor on the Market Development
Neil Price, Co-Editor
| October 16, 2017: Undertaking the role of mayor is an odd situation I find myself in but alas as Chair of the Town Council one I have no choice on. Those who know me will understand that the mayoral role is one I don’t think I particularly fit well into, as along with my occasional visits to other towns as a representative of Hatherleigh, I find attending a formal black tie dinner/dance a step too far.
As Mayor though I may have a useful role in this community in helping bring people with opposing views to at least try and consider a different viewpoint and dispel harmful rumours. With the prospect of the market development looming ever closer something that I’d like to do here.
This development is a divisive issue. Some will be happy to see houses built but many are not. There are big concerns that this development may lead to a diminishing market but we have to accept the old ways are slowly changing, driven by a multitude of society’s new shopping and economic habits and we have to accept the huge complex of the market buildings that it is now cannot remain as it was.
More importantly we also have to accept the market area is privately owned and they want to sell, which they are perfectly entitled to do and I bet there’s quite a few who would do the same in their position. I wonder how many people are aware that the owners waited for a comprehensive community consultation before submitting the Outline planning application back in 2013. A consultation that forms a chapter in Hatherleigh’s Community Plan.
It follows that this chapter in the Community Plan formed the basis with which West Devon planning officers negotiated many of the conditions contained within the outline planning proposal - needs the community wish to see.
And so here we are with Kingswood Homes close to submitting a detailed planning application.
The whole development of the public space and market area is dependent on the financial viability of numbers of houses built, and so we have to accept that the car park space we’ve been used to is going to be much reduced. There has to be a balance between the two.
The question for the community therefore is how to ensure this smaller area is as best as it can be working with the parameters we are presented with. We are where we are, we can’t go back over the same arguments, Outline planning is approved so it’s now about how to make the best of it.
My view is that with a public design key user groups should have been sat at the table with the architects, joint thinking, and together looking at best options on key practical aspects, particularly with a primary objective on how to design for optimum car parking space. This I believe should be a planning condition for complex developments such as this. However unusual, it is something I have asked for but may not get.
Can I take this opportunity to PLEASE ASK THAT WE DO OUR UTMOST TO DISPELL THE RUMOUR THAT THE MARKET WILL CLOSE! This type of overreaction isn’t going to help the situation. It is a planning condition the produce market remains operational throughout the development process.
We know the benefits to Hatherleigh businesses on Tuesday so we must do what we can to ensure the market traders keep returning. That’s not to mention the social, cultural, historical importance of this that’s made, and keeps, Hatherleigh what it is.
Some people may not know the fur/feather auction is 1 of only 2 in the country! What a unique asset and something we should make the most of. Can I also remind people who may not have visited the market in a while of what a fantastic assortment of produce is available week after week. So although its winter, and through the transition of development, please do your best to buy your produce from the traders who come from afar week after week. If we all keep using it we won’t lose it, the traders will come if there are customers to support their time and effort.
Other local Towns have seen their markets run down – let’s not allow it to happen here. It needs us pulling together and finding best solutions through this to make the market continue to work. We have the space for it to continue now we need to be inventive. In time this area may become a central hub for the town so we need to influence them as much as we can to build a design that supports a town like ours.
Kingswood Homes are asking for comments to specific questions on their design, i.e. the type of pavilion; and design of the public realm. For anyone who missed their consultation event in September here’s the link www.kingswoodhomes.uk.com/pages/future-developments.php
This is now the time we all need to be engaged in discussions with each other, considering their design and putting any better suggestions forward to the Town Council so they can keep on speaking up on your behalf.
Email the Town Council, firstname.lastname@example.org,with your ideas, any positive ideas will be welcome.
Thank you. Clare Tyson, Town Mayor.