Page 31 - MarketTimesDecember2017
P. 31

  Market Times • December 2017
REPORT
  Property developer Darren Sockett has a grand plan for Hereford Butter market which could see it transformed into a vibrant general market, with an arts and crafts floor, and a basement dedicated to antiques and collectibles
Antony Hill, who chairs Hereford butter market traders association, is pictured with his grandfather, Charles Nicholls, who started on the market in 1966 and still helps out on Antony’s three stalls
 “This was a wonderful market and it was so busy you used to have to push your way through,” he said.
employing 28 people.
He now owns an extensive property portfolio
Darren reckons he will end up investing £1.5 million in the transformation and it should be completed towards the end of next year.
“But there has been hardly any investment over the years and the paint you see above this stall is from the last time it was painted in 1972.”
including two large industrial estates, and lives with his wife and six children in the former home of the Bulmer cider family, where fallow deer and wallabies roam in the grounds.
He isn’t promoting the market while the work is in progress, but is gradually recruiting good businesses including a cup cake stall, a market barber and the city’s tourist information office which is quite a coup.
Darren said: “This market was in a really bad state when I first looked at it after the council announced it was looking for a buyer.”
But Darren remains down-to-earth and hands- on. He is currently developing a large trampoline park in Hereford and has several other projects in hand, but the market is a labour of love.
Despite having other major projects on the go, Darren still finds time for monthly meetings with the traders.
Hereford born and bred, Darren has fond memories of the market from his childhood. “I remember going to see the cattle in the livestock market then walking through the butter market, and it was a really busy place with lots of atmosphere.”
“I have done well through hard work. I still get up at six and work until eight at night six days a week. “But I want to put something back and restoring the butter market and keeping it a traditional market is important to me. These days shopping centres are all cloned with the same brands everywhere, so this will be something different where independent businesses can get started,” he added.
“They are really good, professional people,” said Darren, although he admits to being bewildered by the working practices of one or two “hobby” traders who arrive late and pack up early.
A self-made man, Darren is a plumber by trade who got into building and went self- employed at 20. He bought his first house, which he rented out, at 23 and by 28 he was
So would-be traders take note — Hereford butter market could soon be the place to trade, but only traders with a professional attitude will be welcome.
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