'To see the market die on its feet would be a tragedy' - bid to cut market fees is blocked
PUBLISHED: 10:44 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:51 21 February 2019
Archant © 2018
Market traders will see their rents increase after an opposition bid to extend an experimental discount was lost.
People setting out their stalls on the two day market in Great Yarmouth had benefited from a price-per-foot cut from £1.64 to 50p to encourage new stalls and help out regulars.
At Tuesday’s full council meeting Labour councillors held up their hands against a bid to put it up to £1, amid claims the reduction had not brought about any lasting improvement.
Labour councillor Michael Jeal put forward an amendment to keep the 50p rate.
He said traders turning out in the cold and wet weather week after week deserved a lift, especially when the borough council had spent so much on the ice rink and propping up St George’s Theatre to the tune of £135,000.
The £28,000 it would cost to carry on with the rebate could be found in “all the lovely car-parking spaces” the council was charging for, he added.
He said: “We are supposed to look after our traders, people are finding it hard.”
Labour group leader Trevor Wainwright said the saving was “a drop in the ocean” and that the measure had encouraged more traders.
“These people are struggling,” he said.
“The whole retail sector is struggling. If we can help a little bit we should. It is tough out there.”
Tony Wright said he did not think a year was long enough to properly test whether the rebate was working.
“For the sake of £28,000 it is very cheap. Yarmouth is one of the most historic markets in the country and to see it die on its feet would be a tragedy for the town centre.
“This is one small way we can repay the market traders over the many years they have been there.
“Every single week you hear of new shops closing in the town centre.
“Let’s not do the same to one of the most historic markets in the country.”
Charges on the six day market remain unchanged.
The amendment was lost by 17 votes to 15 with one abstention.
It was met with a cry of “disgraceful” from the Labour group.