A DEVELOPER has pledged to put a new indoor market for Hatherleigh at the centre of its application to build 123 houses in the centre of town.

Kingswood Homes has submitted detailed plans to build on the application to West Devon Borough Council.

Its plans for the old Hatherleigh Market site, where Vicks Auctioneers ceased trading in February, include a market square and a new market pavilion providing indoor space for traders.

It is also proposing facilities for fur and feather auctions, alongside employment units, a convenience store and a medical centre.

Kingswood Homes described the new market square it plans to build as ‘the linchpin to the success of this scheme’.

The application is due to be decided by the borough council by September 26, with comments invited from the public by July 26.

Hatherleigh mayor Clare Tyson, who is part of a working party that has been meeting with the developer about the plans, said her only concern was that the housing would be built on much of the car parking on the site.

She pointed out that hundreds of people park on the site on Tuesdays, as visitors travel from villages around Hatherleigh and further afield.

‘At the end of the day, if people can’t park their cars there they don’t stop and shop, so that is the real issue,’ she said. ‘The Tuesday market is going great guns at the moment, and at the end of the day it is essential to our community in so many ways.

‘It supports the shops in the town on market day, so its economic benefits are tremendous, and we must never forget that there are social benefits too. Market day is a big thing in this rural area.’

The Tuesday market is currently being run in the old sheep sheds on the site by not-for-profit organisation the Ruby Country Partnership.

The application replaces an earlier proposal from Lancashire-based Kingswood Homes to build 109 homes and other facilities on the same site, for which planning permission has now lapsed. While the footprint of the site is the same, the number of homes has gone up because more flats are included in the scheme.

A spokesperson for the company said: ‘Our vision for Hatherleigh Market is to “aspire higher” and not purely retain the current market format and trades but to provide a new market area which could attract new traders and customers, bringing new life to the town and realising its potential whilst still being respectful of its heritage and traditions as well as serving the existing traders.’

Residents can find out more about the application, 1794/18/FUL, on the WDBC website.