Service charges at Crystal Peaks to increase for the first time since 2009
The members of Sheffield Council’s waste and street scene committee approved a proposal to review the service charge recharged to traders at the shopping centre this week.
The committee members heard the service charge hasn’t increased since 2009 at the marketplace.
A supporting document set out that traders – running non-food, food, café, and meat and fish stalls – at Crystal Peaks pay three separate charges (rent for the market stall, a utility charge and a service charge).
A service charge is designed to recover the cost of providing the general services of the markets used by all (which includes items such as market staffing costs, cleaning etc.).
A report showed that in total for the financial year 2022/23 operational costs attributable to the Market Service Charge at Crystal Peaks was £716,915 while the amount recharged to traders was £453,389 showing an overall subsidy/deficit of £263,526.
Cllr Mark Jones (Burngreave, Labour, deputy chair of the waste and street scene policy committee) said they would not be putting costs up freely if they did not have to.
He said: “I think for us not to put costs up would be negligent and irresponsible from us as a council.”
Cllr Sue Alston (Fulwood, Liberal Democrats), however, told the committee that she was concerned they could “end up losing quite a few traders” as a result of the increase and asked why the council hadn’t raised the charge since 2009.
Ben Brailsford, head of streetscene services, said he agreed they should have had a strategy and added they had not had a “review of utilities, service charges or rent” for such a long period of time.
Cllr Alexi Dimond (Gleadless Valley, Green Party, group spokesperson for the waste and street scene policy committee) said the reason for no increases was due to the “inability of Sheffield Labour to take difficult political decisions”.
In response, Cllr Jones said Cllr Dimond was part of the administration previously “that did not put the prices up” to the markets and accused him of scoring “petty points”.
In the supporting document, officers drew up nine options and recommended option eight – an increase of the consumer price index (CPI), the rate at which the prices of everyday items change over a year, plus 22.6 per cent.
This (halfway between the current charge and full cost recovery) would have initially recovered from traders £585k and the cost remains at £716k, leaving the council subsidising £131k.
But councillors – excluding the Greens who supported the officers’ recommendation – went with Cllr Joe Otten’s (Dore and Totley, Liberal Democrats, chair of the committee) proposal which is a CPI plus eight per cent increase.
Changes to the service charge would not be implemented immediately. There will be a period of 12 weeks between the approved changes and the implementation.