CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the news that Hailsham Market has been saved from development.
Hailsham Market, which traces its history to a Royal Charter of 1252, has over the past 15 years faced repeated threats of closure from developers who wanted to build a supermarket on the town centre site.
But South East Marts, the operator of Hailsham Market, has finally been able to purchase the freehold of the market site in Market Street, Hailsham, ending more than 15 years of uncertainty over the market’s future.
South East Marts director and auctioneer Roger Waters, who has been among those fighting for the market’s future, is delighted. He said, “It’s great news that Hailsham Market is now on a firm footing, with the company that is operating the market also owning the market site.
“We want to improve the facilities here but the present market is functional, its future is secure and we can operate here very happily.
“We are still considering moving to a larger, more accessible site on the outskirts of Hailsham where we could create a new market and rural business centre, if it would be economically viable and the right consents could be gained.”
Phil Hook, the chairman of Hailsham Market Action Group, an organic dairy farmer from Hailsham and NFU member, said, “The dogged determination of all those campaigning to save Hailsham Market has really paid off.
“This is the best news that 2012 could bring the livestock farming community in and around East Sussex.”
Mr Hook also paid tribute to the work of retired solicitor David White, now a Wealden District councillor, who supported the Hailsham Market Action Group at every step of the campaign.
David White said, “The past 15 years have been traumatic, to say the least, but thankfully all that uncertainty is now at an end!
People have been so supportive – farmers pledged more than £400,000 for the campaign to save Hailsham Market and we won the backing of MPs, peers and all tiers of local government.”