Market trader’s stall repossessed by council as others demand reduced rents in Barnsley
Stallholders from Barnsley’s Glass Works market hall staged an hour long ‘walkout’ in their campaign to get rents for ground floor traders reduced, as it emerged one stall at that level has now been repossessed by the authority.
Some traders have been complaining that rent levels are too high for the level of business they have been able to achieve and figures obtained by the Barnsley group of the National Market Traders Federation recently revealed many stallholders are in arrears with rent.
Now it has emerged the council has repossessed one ground floor stall, posting legal notices on the now empty stall previously occupied by Bathtime Heaven.
Barnsley Council reduced rents by half for traders in the upstairs section of the market as a response to the concerns raised, but those with stalls downstairs insist they should benefit from a similar arrangement.
The NMTF Barnsley group’s spokesman, Keiron Knight, said the two tier rent effectively meant a stallholder upstairs could undercut competitors downstairs because their overheads were lower.
The council has offered to move ground floor traders upstairs, but Mr Knight rejected that as a valid business decision, saying: “With regard to traders who cannot make a profit downstairs moving upstairs to take advantage of the half-rent, if traders cannot make a living from a ‘grade A’ position, they won’t make a living from a ‘grade B’ position.”
The notice on the Bathtime Heaven stall states the council has re-entered the unit and the lease has been forfeited as a result.
That action was taken days before the first anniversary of the lease beginning, in November last year.
Barnsley Council has said previously the decision to alter rents upstairs was taken as a result of consultations with traders.
The new market hall has been given a prominent position in the new Glass Works building, created from the old Metropolitan Centre, with entrances directly onto Cheapside and May Day Green, unlike the old arrangement where entrances were hidden behind shop frontages onto the street.