Councillor raises concerns after handover in Doncaster and Mexborough markets privatisation is delayed

A councillor said ‘questions need to be answered’ after the planned privatisation of Doncaster and Mexborough markets were pushed back on two separate occasions.

Saturday, 11th May 2019, 3:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 1:05 pm
Mexborough Market
Mexborough Market

Mexborough First Coun Sean Gibbons has asked officers to explain why Essex-based private firm Markets Asset Management has not taken over running the markets following a council executive decision.

The handover was due to take place on April 15 and then May 1.

Council bosses have said there’s been a ‘delay in legal documentation’.

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The decision was met with concern from opposition councillors and the ruling Labour group.

Fellow Mexborough First member Andy Pickering saying the decision was ‘bulldozed through’ to ‘save embarrassment’ from a democratic vote.

Council bosses claim the 25-year contract will save the council £219,000 per year and will pay a guaranteed income for the local authority of £122,000 from both markets.

MAM has told the council it is committed to investing £2.21 million in the first five years and £3.86 million over the next 20 years in Doncaster Market.

The private operator has allocated £90,000 in the first five years for Mexborough with £2,000 per year for 20 years after that.

Coun Gibbons responding to the success of Doncaster’s revamped Wool Market said: “Wow, can’t we have something like this in Mexborough? Meanwhile, over in Mexborough, we enjoy 1970s provisions and surroundings.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said: “If this is such a fantastic deal for Doncaster and Mexborough, why is it being delayed? Questions need to be answered on that front.

“We’ve been batted off by the executive when raising concerns around this move and some of the things we’ve heard about MAM in other areas of the country.

“We were basically told it was happening with a ‘the executive know better’ type of attitude rather than acknowledging some of the concerns – they didn’t even want items presented at the meeting which they should’ve been reading in the first place.”

Dave Wilkinson, assistant director of trading and property services said: “There has been a slight delay with some of the legal documentation but things are moving forward and MAM Doncaster Ltd. are due to take up the running of Doncaster markets in the next couple of weeks.”