Friday, March 16, 2012

Demonstration against Tory plans to move Market Harborough's market

The controversial proposals by the Conservative-run Harborough District Council to move the town's market from the Market Hall to a car park behind the council's office will be the subject of a demonstration tomorrow.

It will begin at the Market Hall at 11.30 a.m. and finish at the Square at noon.

Market Harborough People says that leaflets and posters will be handed out to raise awareness of the council's controversial plans, which include leasing the Market Hall to a chain store.

I expect the demonstrators will find a lot of support. As the Leicester Mercury reports:
More than 14,000 people have registered their opposition to the council plans to move the traders to Fox Yard behind the council offices in Adam and Eve Street.
These plans have everything to do with the council's need to balance its books and nothing to do with the needs of the Market Harborough economy.

No one but the council thinks that the Fox yard car park is a suitable site for the town's retail market. I was on the council when the new Market Hall was built, and it was seen as an integral part of the redevelopment of the old cattle market site.

Today I heard news of a remarkable piece of pettiness from the council. At the eleventh hour it has refused to allow the market traders to use the public power points in the Square for their public meeting. These are normally offered for use by outsiders from tea ladies to kids' roundabouts and farmers markets, as well as for official occasions like Remembrance Sunday and special occasions like Late Night Shopping.

As my informant says, this is mean and discriminatory, borders on blatant political interference, and constitutes behaviour quite unworthy of a local authority.

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