09 March 2007, 17:11 PM
  • Despite gaining support from High Peak Borough Council to pilot a Regional Food Hall, The East Midlands Development Agency (emda) has called a halt to its plans for the £8m local food project, due to increased local sourcing opportunities with supermarkets in the region.

Following further investigations, emda concluded that it should not fund the project, due to changes in the way supermarkets nationwide are now starting to supply local food. Comments emda director, David Wallace, “Having considered the proposal we have come to the conclusion that we shouldn’t fund the project, which means that the development of the Regional Food Hall within the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton will not go ahead. Given changes in the way supermarkets nationwide are now starting to supply local food, we are not convinced that the Regional Food Hall will be viable and are not prepared to risk a multi-million pound investment in these circumstances.

Last summer it was announced that up to £8m could be spent on the first Regional FOod Hall, and it was estimated the food hall and restaurant could have attracted a million visitors a year, giving a massive boost to the local food and farming industries. The project would also have fully restored the Pavilion Gardens building, which is mainly a late 19th century glass-over-iron-frame conservatory construction.

Adds Mr Wallace, “As a result of discussions between emda and High Peak Borough Council, we recognise that the Pavilion Gardens is an important heritage venue that contributes to the economic and social well being of the Peak District and Buxton, and believe that its impact could be even greater. Emda is keen to work with the Council to help investigate what enhanced uses of the building could be developed to. For example, improve the economic use of the venue; encourage greater community and visitor use; protect and improve the quality and presentation of the building.”

Councillor, David Lomax, leader of High Peak Borough Council, said, “I welcome emda coming to an early view on the Food Hall project. There is now a real opportunity to harness the energy and enthusiasm that has been generated within the local community for the existing provision, to help shape and support the future direction of the Gardens.

“It is clear from listening to the local community that the retention of the Octagon as a flexible events and performance space is essential.