The conversion of city hall into a food market would revitalise Perth’s retail heart and improve the chances of the bid to be city of culture, the group behind the project has claimed.
Perth Market Place Ltd was named the preferred bidder to take over the building last week and will soon enter into negotiations with the council over a lease.
At the same meeting the full council backed funding a £250,000 campaign to make Perth UK City of Culture 2021, an aspiration which the city hall developers say would be in tune with their plans to breathe new life into the Edwardian building which has been mothballed for a decade.
“The preservation of the city hall and conversion into a fresh food market hall for the whole region must greatly enhance the city’s prospects for being city of culture,” said a spokesman for Perth Market Place Ltd.
He questioned fears expressed by Councillor Barbara Vaughan that in the absence of an economic impact study it was unclear whether there would be a detrimental effect on businesses, maintaining that it would benefit the city centre by bringing in many more visitors to Perth.
“Councillor Vaughan requested that her dissent was formally recorded but expressed no preferred alternative action,” he said.
“Where is the thriving independent retail sector? Has it been largely replaced by charity shops and discount stores?
“So, far from threatening any damage to surrounding retail traders, the fresh food market hall will rescue the centre.
“By revitalising the city hall we will revitalise the whole city centre, with an annual estimated footfall of 750,000, there will be huge economic benefits.”
Perth Market Place Ltd said that the period of three months set at the meeting for the bid to satisfy various preconditions in order to achieve a lease could only start once his group received formal notification of those conditions and a closing date for the submission of requested information.
A spokesperson for the council said: “We will be writing to Perth Market Place Ltd to confirm the timescales and the information required shortly.”