VIDEO: Doncaster market traders anger over rent rules
Traders now fear for the future of the town’s award winning market, claiming many business owners will not be able to stump up the money in advance.
Following a rent review Doncaster Council plans to introduce a new system where stallholders will no longer be able to pay by cash to trade. Instead they will have to set up advance direct debits.
Council bosses say the move, which will make it easier for business owners to pay, is in response to requests from traders.
However, some stallholders say they cannot afford up front payments and claim some businesses will shut up shop.
Nigel Berry, who has run Marsdens Seafood Deli in the fish market since 1971, said because he owns two stalls he was facing an outlay of £1,600 under the plans.
He said: “I don’t mind paying in arrears because I can save it up
“The Market Traders’ Federation are asking that if we have to pay by direct debit then we should receive a 40 per cent discount on rent, and have four weeks to pay it.”
Darren Procter, of The Tripe Stall added: “This will see some traders having to close, and the market can only sustain a few more closures before it will have to close completely.”
Meanwhile Karen Westwood of L and H Cairns fruit and veg stall believes traders should have a choice how they pay and those paying by direct debit should receive a discount similar to what utility companies offer customers.
She added: “It should be a choice, you shouldn’t be told what to do. If you pay by direct debit then they want to start reducing the rent.”
Roger Maini, whose Roger’s Coats business has been running for over 40 years said: “I don’t really mind it providing we get some discount out of it. Other markets give a 10 per cent discount.”
The new regulations are set to come into effect from the start of the financial year in April.
Peter Dale, the council’s director of regeneration said the authority had notified traders of its plan to collect direct debits in writing.
He added: “This method of payment has been requested by a number of traders and is a safer, easier and more efficient way of paying and collecting bills than using cash.
“Market rents start from as little as £6.40 per day and we do not offer discounts on rent for payment by direct debit, this is the same for our other tenants - for example those in council homes.”