Market traders threaten to quit

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AS many as one in three traders at the indoor market in Mexborough have decided to put the shutters up in the gathering storm over rent rises.

Proposed rises of up to five times the current rents have led to the tough decision by the stall holders.

Out of the 25 current stalls, seven traders have already made it clear they will quit when the hike takes effect later this year.

They have also formed an action committee and have turned to the National Market Traders’ Federation for help in their campaign.

Ernie Strawbridge, vice-chair of the committee, said they wanted fresh talks with Doncaster Council to see if they can persuade them to impose more reasonable rent increases.

He said: “We have tried to talk to the market management about it but they don’t want to know, so we have formed a committee to try and get them round the negotiating table.

“We had a meeting with the Federation bosses and they said they will support us in any way they can.

“We already have seven traders, some of them have got two of three units, who have said they won’t sign up to the new rents.

“But we hope in time to come back to the council with some rents that we think is fair.

“If they give us fair rents then I think a lot of the traders will stay.

“We understand there needs to be rent increases but the numbers they have given us are ridiculous.”

Some traders currently pay only £15.72 a week for a single unit but this is proposed to go up in stages over three years and could eventually reach £78.60 a week. That equates to a hike for some traders to more than £4,000 a year instead of the current £800.

Labour leader and Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband has already offered his support to the Mexborough traders.

But Doncaster Council has made it clear they think the current rents are “unrealistically low”.

Communities director Joan Beck says: “This authority is having to make massive savings and cannot afford to offer subsidised rents to market traders any longer.”