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Market transfer hold-ups unnecessary

PUBLISHED: 16:32 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 07:16 01 August 2010

BECCLES Town council looks set to finally take over the running of its weekly market - six years after negotiations began.

The transfer of the market from Waveney District Council has involved hours of research, meetings, lawyers and even an appeal to the public to help, but it now turns out that all that was unnecessary and that it could have been done in a matter of minutes.

BECCLES Town council looks set to finally take over the running of its weekly market - six years after negotiations began.

The transfer of the market from Waveney District Council has involved hours of research, meetings, lawyers and even an appeal to the public to help, but it now turns out that all that was unnecessary and that it could have been done in a matter of minutes.

The Friday market in the town centre has been run by Waveney since that council was set up in 1974, but the town council is keen to take it over. Waveney, in turn, has been happy to give it up. But advice from solicitors and the Land Registry suggested that the councils needed to transfer the title through the Land Registry - a complicated procedure made worse when the original charter could not be found.

In September, the Journal reported that district and town councillor Jack Walmsley was appealing to members of the public who had any evidence that the market had been run for hundreds of years and that the town council had been involved in running it. Now the councils have discovered none of that is needed - and the rights can be handed over with no more procedure than a couple of signatures.

Mr Walmsley said: “It has certainly taken six years, probably nearer seven. I really can't say how much time I have spent on it but it must be many hours.

“Waveney didn't know. They had the wrong advice from external solicitors and the Land Registry. I suppose they must share some of the blame in terms of not acting a bit quicker.”

A Waveney spokesman said: “Waveney District Council had to ensure it had correctly dealt with the issues of land registration and the operation of the market itself.

“We had previously understood that a full transfer of title and ownership through the Land Registry was required. This was the path we had pursued with the successful transfers in Southwold and Halesworth. It transpired that we did not need to follow this procedure with Beccles, unless the town council wanted us to do. Should the town council decide that it wants to register the land, we will provide full assistance.

“If the town council does not wish us to change the registration, then a straight conveyance would occur and the market could be handed over in a short space of time.”

At its meeting this week, the town council did not commit itself to taking over the market but said it wanted to work with Waveney to see the time and costs involved. It hopes to improve the market and increase the stalls, perhaps with some from the twice-monthly farmers' market.

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