ASSURANCES have been given that disruption to traders will be kept to a minimum as the next stage in the redevelopment of Abergavenny Town Hall was given the green light.
Councillors on Monmouthshire County Council have voted to proceed with refurbishment plans of the grade II-listed building in Cross Street.
The plans will see a long-awaited community hub located within the building and promises to provide an improved library service.
But at a full meeting of the council on Thursday, Cllr Tudor Thomas (Labour, Priory ward) said traders had expressed “serious concerns” about the refurbishment causing disruption.
“They are worried about the disruption while the refurbishment takes place,” he said.
“If the market hall is shut for four or five weeks most of those traders will not have enough financial reserves to see them over that period.”
Cllr Thomas proposed an amendment to ensure that market traders have an alternative space to continue trading during the works.
His proposal was supported by Cllr Martyn Groucutt (Labour, Lansdown).
“This amendment would seek to ensure that nobody loses their livelihoods even if it’s only for one week,” Cllr Groucutt told the meeting.
Cllr Debby Blakebrough (Independent, Trellech United) also backed the amendment, saying it would show a ‘commitment’ to protect traders if anything went wrong.
But Bob Greenland (Conservative, Devauden) said the council does not envisage the hall having to shut for five or six weeks and that the amendment was ‘unnecessary’ at present.
He said: “I can understand the concerns of market traders but we will do everything we can to avoid anybody going out of business and not only that but avoid disruption to businesses at all.”
The meeting also heard assurances that is is planned for the market to stay open throughout the works, and the amendment was defeated.
A budget of around £2.2million has been set aside for the project, which is part of a wider initiative to deliver community hubs across the county.
Out of the budget, £80,000 is also planned to be set aside to match fund a possible Arts Council grant for making improvements to the Borough Theatre, situated within the building.
Cllr Jane Pratt (Conservative, Llanelly Hill) said the project presented an opportunity to “create a wonderful hub” which could be enjoyed by everybody.
The hall, built in the 1870s, currently houses the town council offices, the Abergavenny Market and the Borough Theatre.
Under the proposals, the ground and first floors would offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for council services, a public library and community learning provision.
The proposed project is estimated to cost £2.1m.