THE PROPERTY developer planning to demolish Hatherleigh Market and build houses in its place says its proposal for a new £1-million market on the site will ‘help the town thrive’.

Kingswood Homes has applied to West Devon Borough Council for planning permission for a market pavilion and square along with 102 homes and 180 car parking spaces and space for six shops.

The application will involve demolishing the existing market buildings where livestock markets were held until February last year.

However, the property developer insists that the new market pavilion and square it will provide in its place, to include space for fur and feather auctions, will benefit the whole community.

‘There’s a whole new market area being provided and there are also 180 car parking spaces,’ said managing director Paul Jones. ‘We are trying to provide a modern market that will be sustainable for the next 100 years.

‘What we want is an operator to come forward to create a new vision for the market to operate on multiple days of the week and create a profitable market to bring more people into the community.’

He said the company was open to ideas for additions to the proposed market pavilion – such as constructing sides to the pavilion which traders would like – if the community was prepared to fund them.

He pointed to funds raised by the Hatherleigh Community Market Community Interest Company (CIC) which until a recent disagreement with Kingswood Homes ran the Tuesday pannier market.

‘Why can’t that money be used to upgrade the market?’ he asked. ‘What we are saying to the local council is we are putting £1-million into the market. We have worked hard to make this scheme viable and there is a lot of support for it in the community. It will help the town thrive.’

Some objectors to the scheme have asked why there is no affordable housing in the £20-million scheme.

Mr Jones said this money was instead being put into building the market on the site.

However he added that negotiations were ongoing with a housing association, Halo Housing, for a quarter of the housing to be available on a shared ownership basis – part-rent, part-buy.

The developer is at loggerheads with the not-for-profit Hatherleigh Community Market CIC which wants to buy the site themselves and reinstate livestock markets in the existing buildings.

Kingswood Homes asked the CIC to stop running the market because of its opposition to its plans. An interim manager is now running the market with Kingswood Homes now seeking a permanent manager.

Campaigner Charles Dumpleton, the founder of the CIC, said he would continue to oppose Kingswood Homes’ plans.

‘We are still in existence,’ he said. ‘The fight definitely goes on. At the moment we are still waiting to see what happens with the planning permission and we will make up our minds where we go after that.’

The planning application will be considered at West Devon Borough Council’s development control and licensing committee meeting on Tuesday, April 23.