Jan 2013 11

I last wrote about the £2.5 million proposed makeover of Saturday Market in Beverley on 20 December. Since then events have been moving at a rapid rate.

On Saturday 23 December, around 500 protesters took to the streets of Beverley, in very heavy rain, calling for an end to the scheme. As you will see from the video I recorded, last Sunday roughly the same number marched through the town again (and also posted a petition with 800 names on it through the front door of County Hall) ahead of a meeting the following day with officials from East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC).

The meeting did not go well as the council dug its heels firmly into the ground. On Wednesday, around 200 people protested outside County Hall (see photograph below)  and unexpectedly, the leader of the council, Stephen Parnaby, gave a statement in the form of an answer to a question from another councillor during the full council meeting. Beverley Protest 9 January 2013

Unfortunately, work on the makeover will start next week. Although the market square does need some resurfacing work done on it, no-one could describe it as a priority – especially as there are so many pothole-riddled roads in the county. The good news though is work on the main market square (where the cobbles are situated) will not commence until the final phase of work begins. This will allow the council and protesters to sit down and reach an agreement.

The headline in yesterday’s East Riding Mail summed-up the current situation perfectly: “People power causes council cobble wobble”.

Indeed it was people power. We already have too many bog-standard town centres in this country. Preserving the history and character of our towns and cities matters to people. History and character also attract tourists, which is good news for struggling businesses who need all the help they can get.

No-one I have spoken to wants this £2.5 million makeover. Many refer to it as a vanity project. They want money allocated to highways maintenance spent on roads throughout the East Riding; not just on one small part of it. Although a sizeable amount of taxpayers’ money will still be spent on this unwanted project, at least some money will be saved, and for the people of Beverley, part of their history will also be preserved.

Beverley Protest 6 Jan 2012

Andrew was the TPA's National Grassroots Coordinator

  • EppingBlogger

    In this case as so many others across the country, these issues are people resisting unwelcome actions by councillors and officials. The councils appear to be doing unwelcome things TO the community and not FOR or WITH the community. What is it that motivates these councillors to be so easily guided by officials who appear to have their own agenda.

    In what other country would historic sets be torn up?

    I was in Philadelphia last summer and that city is preserving the last area of old town with just such paving because they value it. This makes the lie about sets being dangerous as there is no more litigious country that the US. Surely the beauty and history of our towns is not to be destroyed by the latest fads of bureaucrats and the silly exaggeration of ‘elf and safety concerns.

    • Andrew Allison

      I think the council will have to change its mind now. Thankfully the story has received national attention, and it’s very hard to ignore hundreds of people marching through the streets. I will post updates as and when we find out more.

  • David Drinkwater

    I think this is an appalling idea. The area does not need a “make-over” and as for the cobbles… They are NOT cobbles they are “sets” and present no problems to disabled people like me who walk with a stick.
    Mr Parnaby – get your priorities in the correct order.