Traders fear for future over five-fold increases plan

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Big rise in rent may close stalls

rent rises of five times the current amount could mean the end of Mexborough market, according to angry traders.

Doncaster Council says rents for units in the indoor market are “unrealistically” low.

Councillors have decided on increases stepped over the next three years.

If the stallholders do not sign up to new agreements they will lose their pitches in six months.

Some say the massive increases - from around £15 a week to nearly £80 - will force many out of business.

Ernest Strawbridge, chairman of Mexborough Indoor Market Traders’ Federation, said some would be forced out of business and it might turn Mexborough into a ‘ghost town’.

“We do appreciate that the rents have to go up - but to an affordable level.

“It’s a good little market. It will be sad times if we have to pull the shutters down in October.”

Traders currently pay as little as £15.72 a week for a single unit, which will rise to £36.69 in the first year, £57.64 in the second, and £78.60 in the third.

Doncaster Market was recently named the best in Britain by national judges but Mayor Peter Davies says the council cannot afford to subsidise rents for the Mexborough stallholders because of the economic climate.

Mr Davies said he sympathised with them and would look at making improvements to the Mexborough market to make it look more attractive.

In a statement Joan Beck, the council’s communities director, said the indoor market rents had not been reviewed for 15 years and were unrealistically low.

“This authority is having to make massive savings and cannot afford to offer subsidised rents to market traders any longer.

“We are sympathetic towards traders’ concerns and appreciate that this is a large rent increase but we are confident that they will see many benefits.

“There is a real buzz around Doncaster Market which we are hoping to now bring to Mexborough.”