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Calls for council to show proposed market plans

Steve Rush, chairman of Clitheroe Residents Action Group
Steve Rush, chairman of Clitheroe Residents Action Group
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A residents action group is calling on council bosses to reveal their plans for the future of Clitheroe’s multi-million pound market or consider an alternative scheme.

Members of Clitheroe Residents Action Group want answers from Ribble Valley Borough Council about how “their” market will be transformed.

However, the leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, Coun. Ken Hind, insists negotiations continue.

As reported previously in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, proposals to redevelop the historic market were given the green light behind closed doors despite a vote calling to have the meeting heard in public.

Now, CRAG has unveiled its vision for how the market site should be revamped.

Chairman, Steve Rush, said: “Clitheroe market belongs to residents. It does not belong to the leader of the borough council Ken Hind, or the council itself.

“We believe developers should leave the market as it is until you reach the Bull Ring area.

“At this point we would get rid of the free-standing metal stalls and create another row of brick-built cabins with a wider alleyway.

“This area would be a covered food court with seating. Behind the newly-built stalls would be extra car parking.

“We also suggested regular entertainment and a mix of services to attract younger families.”

He added: “This plan has been submitted previously on three occasions. If Ken Hind wishes to appear open on the market regeneration scheme, why has he refused to debate it? CRAG are prepared to debate this issue.”

In a statement issued, Coun. Hind stated: “No decisions have been made by the council on design, contract and costs of the project - negotiations continue.

“These matters will all come back to committee for further consideration and decision. At the moment the council have nothing to show the public as nothing has been agreed.

“The suggestion that I, as leader alone, can decide what happens is nonsense and those who suggest it show a lack of understanding about how local government works.

“The Ribble Valley Borough Council runs a committee system in which every councillor votes, unlike most of the councils in Lancashire, where there are cabinet systems which involve a smaller number of councillors making decisions.

“Councillors are decision makers in our borough and none of our councillors feel they have no relevance.

“We are listening to the public, hence the changes to the outline for the design and the need to negotiate changes to the project which has a substantial impact on its viability.

“The council has just recruited an economic development director, Nicola Hopkin, to head up the a newly-combined planning housing and economic development department.

“The negotiations are in the new departments plans.”