Page 30 - MarketTimesDecember2017
P. 30

New owner has grand designs for
  REPORT
Market Times • December 2017
Hereford Butter Market
By NICOLA GOULD
PROPERTY developer Darren Sockett didn’t get where he is today by thinking small.
dilapidated through lack of investment, into a bright, vibrant traditional market.
this floor, building on Hereford’s arts and jewellery traditions, where arty students and start-up businesses can display their wares and test the water for their fledgling businesses.
So, when he signed on the dotted line to acquire Hereford’s historic Butter Market from Herefordshire Council, he set in motion plans to transform the building.
He wants to demolish the arched ground floor ceiling built in the 1970s and replace it with a lower one. This would facilitate the use of the first floor, which includes a faded but magnificent guild hall.
And he also wants to refurbish the labyrinthine basement and open it as an atmospheric centre for antiques and collectibles.
The master plan involves restoring the ground floor market, which had become tired and
The vision is to create an arts and crafts hub on
And what do the traders think of these big ideas?
“Bring it on”, they say. “Darren Sockett has done more for this market in six months than the council has done in 60 years,” one trader said.
 They are delighted with the new-look stalls Darren is building and can’t wait for the transformation to take shape.
Antony Hill, who runs three market businesses including trophy engraving, a domestic appliance stall and a tobacconist, and who is also chairman of the traders association, said he and other traders had supported Darren’s bid to the council.
“We believed he wanted to rejuvenate the place as a traditional market and we felt he had the means and the drive to do this,” Antony said.
“And he is doing what he said he would. The stalls are getting built and he is working around us so that we can carry on trading. Even when work on the roof is carried out, Darren says it can be done at weekends, with us just closing on Saturday afternoons.”
Antony’s grandfather, Charles Nicholls, 79, who started on the butter market in 1966, and helps out on the domestic appliance stall, is full of praise for what has been achieved since the new owner took over in October 2016.
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