The identity of the potential new owner of Settle Town Hall is being kept under wraps at the request of the prospective buyer.

Craven District Council said it was honouring a request by the buyer who wanted to remain anonymous until the sale was completed.

But the Craven Herald understands the Grade II-listed structure may have been bought by a locally-based developer.

A £250,000 price tag for the 180-year-old building was listed in agenda papers for the policy committee, dated September 13.

The money was included in funding resources expected by the council for 2011/2012, which also included £675,000 from the sale of Number 9 High Street, Skipton.

Settle Town Hall houses the tourist information centre, Pet, Garden and Farm Supplies – which has been based in the building for 28 years – and a caretaker’s flat.

Hazel Smith, the council’s project manager, said: “We are still going through the legal process involved with the sale of the building, and as such the purchaser has asked us to maintain confidentiality until such time as the sale is complete.

“Once the sale is legally complete the council will provide a press release outlining the details in conjunction with the purchaser.”

None of the people using the building has yet been informed if they will be able to stay on.

Derek Lord, owner of Pet, Garden and Farm Supplies, who was one of a shortlist of four bidding for the building, said: “I’ve not heard a dicky bird. Nobody has been to see me. I was on the shortlist of four at one time but later withdrew following advice.”

He stressed that he would be continuing with the business which had been established in the town hall for 28 years.

“I will not give up easily. I have worked hard and I will not be walking away. I will continue in Settle. I’ve had customers coming in asking what will happen and panicking and I’m telling them not to worry, I will continue some way or another.”

A volunteer at the tourist information centre, who did not wish to be identified, said they too had been told nothing and the centre was on a three months’ rolling notice. “So we can’t plan further than that,” he said.