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Ex-Bracknell Mayor backs indoor market

Published: 28 Jan 2014 09:153 comments

A FORMER mayor has backed calls for Bracknell to continue to have an indoor market as part of the redevelopment of the town centre.

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Cllr Shelagh Pile, who was town mayor last year and is also a borough UKIP councillor, spoke in support of the plan after a petition was presented to members of Bracknell Forest Council by supporters of the market.

Hazel Kent, owner of the cafe at the market, claimed the questions in a council consultation – which was open between November and January 13 and asked about the future of the old 3M building and the market – were flawed.

None of the three options was for an indoor market and Mrs Kent secured more than 1100 signatures on a petition calling for a public consultation that included such a choice.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council last Wednesday, Cllr Pile said: “This town has had a market for more than 100 years. I think Bracknell should continue with an indoor market having had one here for so long.”

The council’s consultation had asked residents to choose from three options:

l Keep the market and Winchester House (the former 3M building).

l Move the market outside so Winchester House can be redeveloped

l To close the market so Winchester House can be redeveloped.

But Mrs Kent said a fourth option – asking if people wanted an indoor market – should have been included.

Answering a question from Cllr Michael Brossard about why traders could not operate outdoors, Mrs Kent said: “Other market towns are fine but the problem in Bracknell is the stalls involved have so much stock. I’ve got two chests, a freezer, a drinks cabinet and a fridge and I can’t take that in and out every day.

“There’s no way the traders can go outside; we will go out of business.”

She reiterated her belief the council should have searched for a new base for the market because it would be profitable if managed and supported by the council. She said: “The council has had years and years to find a good home for the market but they have left it until the last minute and now there is nowhere.”

David Arris, 60, who lives in Orchard Court, was one of about 20 people at the meeting at Easthampstead House. supporting the petition. He said: “I’ve been in Bracknell for 55 years and there has always been an undercover market, and I’ve used it consistently.

“The market has deteriorated over the years and rents have gone up. A lot of the stall holders have had to leave including the fishmonger but there was a lot of variety. I’m standing up for the stall holders – there should be an indoor market.”

Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker, executive member for regeneration at Bracknell Forest Council, said the results of the consultation

will be revealed next month.

He added: “I’m grateful for the work that’s gone into this petition and it will be passed on to the regeneration committee.”

The petition for the council to have a fresh consultation including the option of an indoor market will be discussed at the committee’s meeting on Monday, February 10.

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