Market overhaul stalled

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COUNCILLORS have sent officials back to the drawing board concerning a new layout of the market in Hemel Hempstead.

Plans have been drawn up by Dacorum Borough Council officers for 80 stalls and kiosks in Marlowes stretching from Bridge Street to Riverside as part of an overhaul of the style and appearance of the market.

But the proposals drew criticism at a meeting of the council’s development control committee, where councillors said the stalls blocked seating and the current practice of spreading goods on the ground made the area ‘downmarket and untidy’.

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe said: “The stalls seem to surround the planter areas and indeed abut the planters. There have been complaints that the stalls obstruct the planters and stop people sitting around them.”

Councillor Graham Adshead said: “We have received a number of complaints regarding the inability of people, specifically the disabled, when the market is in operation, to move freely around the town.”

Councillors voted to defer the plans for officers to come up with an alternative stall layout.

Councillor John Whitman said: “They are encroaching on the green space and we get so much hassle about it. It doesn’t seem to have been thought through.”

The contract to run the market – which has been held by Town and Country Markets for 12 years – runs out later this year.

Meanwhile, work is currently under way to build a covered ‘food court’ outside Boots.

> Town centre bosses found out on Saturday that Hemel Hempstead has not made it into the first set of Mary Portas Pilot Towns.

The scheme, which comes with £1million in government funding, will see the retail guru take 12 towns under her wing to boost business.

Hemel Hempstead will be put through to a second application stage.