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Rocketing rents angers traders

FURIOUS Market Hall traders are up in arms as they face rocketing rents and service charges.

FURIOUS Market Hall traders are up in arms as they face rocketing rents and service charges.

The stallholders pay Hyndburn Council for water, electricity and other amenities.

Chairman of the Market Tenants' Association, Neville Singer, claims the charges are set to go up by 150 per cent along with rent increases of 6.1 per cent.

He said: "It's ridiculous. It is going to mean some traders paying between £50 and £200 extra a month. It is an extremely big increase."

"We have already been hit over the refurbishment of the Town Hall and a number of stalls have changed hands over the last 12 to 18 months."

"It just adds insult to injury when we have been hit with the market development and on top of that they give us the extra cost as well."

"Both the rent and service charges are going up this time despite promises that they would be kept to the rate of inflation."

Mr Singer, who runs a pram stall in the Market Hall, added: "The council is re-apportioning the service charges between the tenants on the inside and outside markets."

"For example, let's say the Market Hall tenants are told to pay 50 per cent towards the cost of the porters, but they may not use the porters that much."

"We have managed to knock it down a bit. We have got some concessions but there is still room for manoeuvre. If not, prices will go up or people will be forced out of business."

"The council should not be making a profit on the service charges as it's just a re-charge of what we use."

Nigel Rix, director of Hyndburn Council's regeneration arm Hyndburn FIRST, said members of the Market Board had discussed the matter but no decisions had been made.

He added: "We have looked at the options for rents and service charges."

"The problem has been the rents have not increased over several years because of the uncertainty of whether the market development would take place."

"For several traders their position has now changed and it may be for the better or not. When market rents don't rise the increased costs of running the market are met by all council tax payers in Hyndburn."

He added: "The council has yet to decide what will be borne by traders and what will be met by residents through their council tax."

"We are very keen to see the market continue to thrive but we have to take into account all taxpayers in Hyndburn."

The rents will be looked at during a meeting of Hyndburn's Cabinet on 25 February before going to full council in March.


Stuart Pike
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