Future of town building being considered

Published Tuesday 23 February 2016

The future of council-owned building, The Settling Rooms, is being explored.

Harborough District Council, which owns the Grade II listed building in St Mary’s Place, Market Harborough, agreed at its Full Council meeting on 22 February 2016 to approve, in principle, a disposal of either the freehold or leasehold subject to suitable bids being received.

Historically the building was used, as part of the former livestock market, as a place for ‘settling up’ after the auctioneer had completed the selling of stock.

The council said it would work closely with organisations Voluntary Action South Leicestershire (VASL) and Shopmobility, which are currently based at The Settling Rooms, regarding the future use of the building.

Harborough District Council is required by law to obtain the maximum return from its assets on behalf of the taxpayer.

In recent years the council has made great strides in maximising the potential of its key buildings including The Symington Building, which was redeveloped to become a multifunctional building generating income for the taxpayer.  Harborough Market was also redeveloped in 2014 and was last month named Britain’s best small indoor market at the National Association of British Market Authorities Great British Market Awards.

Cllr Phil King, Harborough District Council’s portfolio holder for finance and commercialisation, said: “This is a difficult decision but nonetheless, when you consider the long-term maintenance and repair needs, The Settling Rooms is not maximising its potential return for the council or the taxpayer. We need to decide on the best option, in challenging economic times, which could also provide an exciting opportunity for the future of the building.”