Plans to overhaul Fakenham market
Chris HillA rusty eyesore in Fakenham could make way for a modern market building under plans which could also create up to 40 public parking spaces.The corrugated iron shelter which stands alongside the car park between Cattle Market Street and Miller's Walk is used by stallholders trading at one of the town's two weekly markets.Chris Hill
A rusty eyesore in Fakenham could make way for a modern market building under plans which could also create up to 40 public parking spaces.
The corrugated iron shelter which stands alongside the car park between Cattle Market Street and Miller's Walk is used by stallholders trading at one of the town's two weekly markets.
Owner James Beck has applied for planning permission to demolish the shelter and replace it with a steel-framed storage building, similar in style to his auction house at the nearby Cornhall.
His plans also include removing the static market-stall frames erected outside and replacing them with mobile stands, complete with waterproof covers, which can be wheeled into the planned new building when not in use.
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On non-market days, he said the move would free up space for between 30 and 40 vehicles and extend the existing public car park.
Mr Beck, whose family has run the market since it was a cattle auction in the 1800s, said the time had come to make a 'significant investment' in its future. He said the scheme would improve facilities for traders while improving the site's appearance to visitors.
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'I am really excited about it,' he said. 'It will make the market run more smoothly and look much nicer for everyone.
'The rusty stalls will be taken down and it will mean extra car parking for Fakenham during the rest of the week, as we can just wheel the new stands out on a Thursday.
'The majority of people I have spoken to say I should have done this years ago. It has come to the point where the building has come to the end of its life and we need to reinvest to make it last longer. It is an investment which I won't see any immediate return on, but my children might.'
Mr Beck said he could not disclose the exact cost of the plan, but said it would run to 'tens of thousands of pounds'.
The planned building has roller doors at each end and occupies the same footprint as the existing one.
'The replacement building will be more secure and won't get vandalised during the week,' said Mr Beck.
'It will be like for like in terms of size, and it will look rather similar to our auction building. But the colours will be darker, more country-looking.'
If the new building is approved, Mr Beck said he hoped to start with about 30 of the 10ft mobile stalls to assess demand, but expected to be able to offer one to each trader. During summer peaks the market attracts up to 70 stallholders.
Mr Beck's market runs alongside his company's auctions at the Cornhall, and at the same time as the charter market run every Thursday by the town council in Fakenham's central Market Place.
Town mayor Mike Coates said the council's development and market committee voiced support for the plan at its meeting on Monday.
'We think it is a good idea. The old building has got really tatty so we are pleased to see it being developed. It will tidy that market place up, which it needs, so we wish him luck with it and hope it will be very successful.'
Mr Beck said he expected a decision from North Norfolk District Council within the next month and, if planning consent is granted, he hopes to start work in the autumn.