ALMOST three in four people have called for the demolition of the old 3M building and a new outdoor market to open in Bracknell.
More than 1,000 people answered a public consultation on the future of the site, with 72% backing the second option, to demolish the building and move the town’s indoor market outside.
Only 4% of respondents said the former 3M building and indoor market should stay, while 23% said the site should be developed with no market set up.
Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker, executive member for regeneration at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “I’m incredibly grateful for the huge amount of people who have expressed an opinion. The consultation has clearly shown people want an outdoor market. So many people ask what’s happening to Winchester House.
“Bracknell has had a market for decades and I’ve always been a fan of markets. I’m keen to have a strong, vibrant market in Bracknell.” A petition had been launched by the market traders who said the consultation was flawed – and a fourth option to create a new indoor market should have been listed.
However, the council believes there is nowhere big enough to put another indoor market, and says it does not have funding to build one without passing costs onto taxpayers.
Cllr Brunel-Walker said: “It took time to make sure we had the right questions and that is why we worked with QA Research – it gave us a good spread of answers with a lot of cross-reference between answers.” The indoor market is open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Hazel Kent, who has run the Market Cafe for three years and launched the petition, said she will quit running the business.
She said: “I now give up. The fight has now been sucked out of me. I simply can’t go on much longer in the hope a lifeline will be thrown to me. I’m now going to run my freezers down and when empty, I will be waving goodbye to the market. Saturday will be my final trading day but I have shed loads of food in my freezers. I will try to not cry at the end of the day but I can honestly say I will miss many of my customers and hope they understand the reasons why I am abandoning a sinking ship before it goes under.” The consultation results will be discussed at a Bracknell regeneration committee meeting at Easthampstead House on Monday. It is open to the public and starts at 5.30pm.