Council to bid for market management lease

Craven council has agreed to re-apply for a new lease to manage Skipton Market.

The local authority is responding to a notice to terminate its current lease of the market issued by the Lord of the Honour of Skipton, Sebastian Fattorini.

Councillors have agreed to pursue its renewal of the lease "to provide the Lord of the Honour with as much choice as possible" when making his decision about who should manage the market.

Skipton Town Council has also expressed an interest in the management of the popular market.

Councillor Chris Knowles-Fitton, leader of Craven District Council, said: "Skipton market is important to Craven's economy and is a major part of the attraction of Skipton to visitors. We have an obligation to the community of Skipton and it would be totally the wrong message if we decided to let our lease end and shun the market.

"Since we took over the running of the market in 1991 we have transformed it. It used to be a bit of a free-for-all with people turning up to trade at any time and anywhere. We have introduced bylaws and market trading laws and established a statutory market four days a week. We have also worked hard with traders to improve the appearance and tidiness of the market.

"There is a lot of effort and hard work behind the scenes that goes into the efficient management of a market but rather than simply walk away we have decided that it is important to Craven residents that the market is run as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. Ultimately the decision will rest with the Lord of the Honour."

Craven Council took over responsibility for the market in 1991 from the Lord with a lease of the market rights which ran for 50 years.

The lease included a break-out clause that could be invoked by either party after any 10-year period by 12 months notice in writing. The notice expires in February next year.

The lease will be up for renewal on March 1.