Car boot sale plan backed

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A MAJOR tourist attraction could be hosting car boot sales by Christmas after plans were approved.

Hartlepool Borough Council is looking to generate income by allowing a third of the car park at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience (HME) for the new venture with Nobles Promotions.

Nobles Promotions, believed to be the region’s biggest organiser of car boot events, will organise and market the event after approval was given by independent councillor Cath Hill.

Coun Hill, portfolio holder for children’s and community services, backed the plans, which are subject to planning permission.

If it is approved by planning, the weekly event would take place every Saturday between 8am and 1pm.

John Mennear, assistant director community services, said: “This is about making sure that we can maximise income streams. It requires planning permission and the application is being prepared.”

Nobles Promotions will provide marketing, staffing and other infrastructure and charge an entry fee to the sellers.

Officers told Coun Hill there would still be adequate parking space for Museum of Hartlepool and HME customers.

Coun Hill agreed to officers testing the market for a year.

The weekly car boot sales will be included in HME’s events programme, in the same way as the monthly Farmer’s Market, and used to attract visitors.

The plans were first discussed a month ago, but Mayor Stuart Drummond deferred making a decision.

At the time, Mayor Drummond said the council had turned down similar car boot applications in the past and wanted to make sure the local authority wasn’t “bending the rules” to suit.

Concerns centred on market charter legislation which restricts other markets opening in a 6.6 mile radius of the town centre market.

Officers reiterated that this was for a car boot sale rather than a market, to be held on a weekend rather than during the week.

But if the car boot event was having a negative impact on the Thursday market traders they would have to have another look at it.