Traders bid to take over Hereford Buttermarket

Hereford Times: Built in 1860, Hereford Buttermarket is home to around 70 stalls. Built in 1860, Hereford Buttermarket is home to around 70 stalls.

HEREFORD Buttermarket could be back in the hands of its traders by the end of the year – if a bid to take over the High Town marketplace is successful.

Steve Dixon, the chairman of the Buttermarket Independent Traders Association, is heading a group of four traders, backed by local businessmen, that has expressed its interest in taking over the market as a community enterprise.

He said: “We know the market, we know the job.

“A private investor has to think about profit, about shareholders. We would invest profit back into the community.”

Herefordshire County Council, who own the site, this week opened up the takeover process, inviting bids for the listed Victorian indoor market.

With a multi-million refurbishment on hold – work that was estimated at costing between £3million to £5million – council decisions over the market’s future have reached a critical point.

Under Mr Dixon’s plans, a community interest company would be created; a not-for-profit entity fronted by traders and experienced businessmen that would have access to charitable funding and grants for the repair work that are unavailable to councils.

It would take a long-term lease, expected to be 25-plus years, on the market, similar to the arrangement with Hereford United.

In exchange for taking on liability for the site, and the cost of repairs, the traders would be able to cut down what is currently £250,000 in annual rent payments.

“If it can work, I’m fully behind it,” said Hereford mayor Len Tawn, who also owns a stall in the market.

“It needs something, the Buttermarket has been under-supported for years.”

Over the past five years partnerships with architecture firms and Hereford City Council have been suggested and dismissed, with disparities over budgets and visions for the site preventing any large-scale refurbishment taking place.

And Patricia Morgan, the council’s cabinet member for corporate services, has warned that there is potential for “a freehold disposal of the site if the right circumstances are presented”.

There is a city charter that protects the site as a market, however Mr Dixon is concerned that if it were to be handed over to a private investor, any long-term closure for repair work could kill off the livelihoods of the 50-plus traders at the site.

Comments (3)

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5:49am Thu 12 Jun 14

B the B says...

While this seems a good idea, will they be able to afford to refurbish it to a decent standard, it has been neglected for years now.
It just makes me wonder because all the talk is about reducing the rent and repairs so if money is that tight the last thing on their minds would be refurbishment.
While this seems a good idea, will they be able to afford to refurbish it to a decent standard, it has been neglected for years now. It just makes me wonder because all the talk is about reducing the rent and repairs so if money is that tight the last thing on their minds would be refurbishment. B the B
  • Score: -2

1:55pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Hereford person says...

Cllr. Morgan, look out with her past regarding children's services etc. we need a Councillor who lives in Hereford and is proud of the fact to handle this case not one of the Cabinet who moved here got elected take around £15,000 in expenses because fellow Herefordians don't stand for council.
Cllr. Morgan, look out with her past regarding children's services etc. we need a Councillor who lives in Hereford and is proud of the fact to handle this case not one of the Cabinet who moved here got elected take around £15,000 in expenses because fellow Herefordians don't stand for council. Hereford person
  • Score: 1

8:52am Sun 15 Jun 14

Grid Knocker says...

So the annual rental income hoovered up by Herefordshire Council is £250,000, is it? Fascinating.

A little bird (who had had access to council financial records) told me some years ago that this money went into general funds and that there wasn't even such a thing as a 'Butter Market general maintenance & repairs' account. Which even a cursory inspection of the current abject state of the building's interior would seem to confirm.

So if HC has been troussering £1/4-million every year from the poor old Butter Market traders for, say, a decade - that's £2.5-million - doesn't honest logic suggest that, by rights, the council should give the traders the building for nothing?

Silly me, I forgot: Herefordshire Council doesn't 'do' honesty or logic!
So the annual rental income hoovered up by Herefordshire Council is £250,000, is it? Fascinating. A little bird (who had had access to council financial records) told me some years ago that this money went into general funds and that there wasn't even such a thing as a 'Butter Market general maintenance & repairs' account. Which even a cursory inspection of the current abject state of the building's interior would seem to confirm. So if HC has been troussering £1/4-million every year from the poor old Butter Market traders for, say, a decade - that's £2.5-million - doesn't honest logic suggest that, by rights, the council should give the traders the building for nothing? Silly me, I forgot: Herefordshire Council doesn't 'do' honesty or logic! Grid Knocker
  • Score: 1

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