Hatherleigh Market is gearing up for summer trading in its new purpose-built pannier market, with plans to purchase the freehold of the site from Kingswood Homes continuing apace, writes Sarah Martin.

At a packed public meeting on Saturday 9 March, the Friends of Hatherleigh Market working group updated those present on the plans to secure the site as a community asset.

The proposed purchase of the market from housing developer Kingswood Homes moves on to the next stage in April when the next funding window opens for applications to the Government’s Community Ownership Fund.

A Community Benefit Society, Hatherleigh Community Market Limited, officially registered on 24th February, will be used to apply for the £1m grant needed to purchase the freehold of the market site.

Cllr. Richard Burrow of the Friends of Hatherleigh Market said: “Plans are progressing well for us to buy the site and we are working hard to secure the future of the market that is so fundamental to the identity of the town.

“We have so far received £66,200 in pledged support as part of the community share scheme.

We are confident we will reach the £100,000 in match funding from the community needed to apply for the grant, at which time we will call in the pledges and formally launch the share scheme.

As part of the scheme, each member will get one vote regardless of how many shares they hold to ensure it’s a democratic and fair.”

A further £117,605 is needed to fit out the market site to be suitable to host events all year round including local produce markets, fairs, auctions, car boot sales, and other community activities.

“Our aims are for Hatherleigh to own its market, equip it to be sustainable and fit for year-round use and to safeguard it for future generations,” added Richard.

The developer Kingswood Homes is financing enhancements to provide a market pavilion with side enclosures, an outside paved market square suitable for 60 stalls and 189 car parking spaces, two toilets, power, solar panels and infrastructure for EV charging points.

There is strong support from the public to acquire the market as an asset for the town and also widespread support from key stakeholders including West Devon Borough District Council. Hatherleigh Town Council are also backing the scheme, having agreed to underwrite the fit-out costs to ensure the scheme can proceed.

To find out more, and pledging your support click here.