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Gloucestershire Business News

Hempsted Meadows car boot sales to continue

Car boot sales will be allowed to continue at Hempsted Meadows under new council plans.

A permanent operator for the site is to be sought by Gloucester City Council, after years of uncertainty over its future.

Plans to enter into a lease of up to 15 years for the site with a break clause every five years were signed off by cabinet yesterday (February 7), after being approved by a council committee on Monday (February 5). 

Speaking at the overview and scrutiny meeting Cllr Hannah Norman (Con, Quedgeley) cabinet member for performance and resources, said: "We are looking for someone who is committed to the site and is financially stable and wants to make the best of the site for the council, themselves and the people of Gloucester."

Sales were run for six years at the site by Bob Newby's company Gloucester Car Boot & Flea Market.

They stopped in 2020 after the operator's licence expired and they moved to Ross-on-Wye.

It was then transformed into a regional testing facility during the Covid pandemic.

Car boot sales restarted last year after the council said it recognised there was "much local support " for the events.

It awarded a temporary "pilot" licence to Reg Daldry, boss of Gloucester-based UK Demolition & Construction, to runs sales every Wednesday and Sunday at the site.

Cllr Norman said: "During this pilot, income has been consistent even with the car boot having to close on a number of occasions due to flooding.

"In the future, granting a lease on commercial terms will give the council consistent income in the same way, but under more robust terms."

Mr Daldry is to be given a nine month extension to his licence, so events can continue running while a permanent occupier is chosen.

Cllr Norman said: "We want the operator to make it a real asset for Gloucester.

"If someone wants to come forward with a use that encompasses more than car boot sales we would definitely be open to that at this stage."

The three acre plot of land has limited uses as it is prone to flooding and cannot be developed due to the instability of the ground with regular maintenance required by the council which is "financially draining".

Cllr Norman said there were other plots of land which formed part of Hempsted Meadows and had previously been used for events and dog walking but they were not part of these lease discussions.

Council paper published past year showed it was considering leasing part of the site to the Sea Cadets for a new headquarters.

Punchline has contacted the council for a response.

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