Council eyes square deal as it works on town manager

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Instead of paying £3,500 a year to lease the Market Square, Market Rasen Town Council may seek to buy the site.

The land is owned by the Nettleship family, but the lease comes up for renewal in 5-6 years.

The issue of ownership came up in last Thursday’s market forum meeting to see how to take the management of the town markets forward, including employing a town manager to run them and also promote the town.

When quizzed about whether the markets cover their cost, Coun Steve Bunney said the town council pays £3,500 a year in rent for the Market Place, plus £1,400 a year in business rates.

“If the opportunity came up, we should buy the market place,” he said. There would be a capital cost, but “we wouldn’t have £3,500 to pay every year,” he said.

He was backed by business owner Sarah Lamballe, who said she would be “happy” to pay for the purchase of the square. Coun Bunney said the markets almost break even.

“If the town was able to own the marketplace, these rents could go on something else, rather than be swallowed on an overhead,” he said.

Later on, Coun Bunney said the town council would aim to see 3-4 stalls on Friday and to double the size of the Tuesday and Saturday markets, particularly in an extended ‘market season.’ The MR BIG speciality markets would aim to have at least 30-40 stalls.

Such extra stall rentals, would help fund the town manager, though the town council would meet some of the shortfall, also seeking support from West Lindsey District Council. The meeting agreed that the town council, MR BIG, traders and others would over the next six weeks put together a ‘working agreement.’