DISCUSSIONS surrounding the redevelopment of a historic market site were heard behind closed doors on Tuesday evening despite a vote calling to have the meeting heard in public.

Councillors gathered in Clitheroe Town Hall to discuss plans for the town’s £9million market redevelopment, after opposition councillors made the decision to use the ‘call-in’ procedure following a policy and finance committee meeting two weeks ago.

Cllr Allan Knox, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the plans the council wanted to push forward with ‘totally contradicted’ a public consultation held over the proposals in 2016 which called for an outdoor market.

Despite calls from councillors to hold this latest meeting in public, a vote against the proposal resulted in the market plans remaining in ‘part two’ of the meeting and therefore heard in secret.

The main reason for this, explained the Conservative leader of the council Ken Hind, was down to ‘commercial sensitivities’.

He said: “The debate took place in private due to advice from the officers as a lot of the matters under consideration were commercially sensitive.

“The design which is the property of developers Barnfield could be subject to detailed alteration. In addition the negotiations of the final design and next steps in the process with Barnfield should take place in private and the council wish to keep confidential their negotiating position.

“Meetings will take place with interested parties in the near future to explain the outline of the design and the process proposed.

“Barnfield will be asked to produce detailed drawings of their proposal which once agreed, will form part of informing the public on the design of the project.

Cllr Knox said: “The decision to hold the debate in secret will cause irreparable damage to the council and the market.

“The way the decision has been taken means the public, rightly or wrongly, believe the council have something to hide about the market development and do not trust them to do the right thing about this much loved and historic part of town.”

Clitheroe Residents Action Group asked shoppers to complete a survey outlining their wants for the market. Of the 503 people who took the survey, 88% of respondents agreed that the market should stay outdoors.