'Please help stalls to survive' say traders at Preston Market Hall
Traders at Preston Market Hall say city leaders must ‘ease their burden’ as they are hit with declining customer numbers.
It comes as the Trader’s Association has sent a letter to Preston City Council (PCC) detailing requests for concessions.
The city authority, which has acknowledged receipt of the letter, says it has “invested heavily“ into the Markets and stressed that it is working “towards a feasible solution for the issues that have been raised by traders".
Sam Livesey, owner of the family butchers at Preston Market Hall and Association chairman says that in the current situation stall owners won’t last until 2021 when the cinema and restaurant complex is expected to be built.
Business owners have hit out at the council saying that with the cold, the demolition of the old market hall car park and the higher cost of rent, they are struggling to make ends meet.
Mr Livesey said: “The way things are going the market won’t be sustainable in the very near future.
"I’m concerned that by the time the work is done a lot of traders aren’t going to sign up to be in the market anymore. Our goal now is to try and make the council listen.
"There’s got to be significant change.”
Neil Fairhurst, interim deputy chief executive at PCC, said: “We firmly believe that the rent rates are fair and reasonable for the location, appearance and footfall of the Market Hall.
"Comparisons to the rates charged at the end of life for the old market are misleading as they were significantly discounted to provide continuity of the Preston Market offer while the Market Hall was being built.
“Having welcomed over half a million visitors since opening last year, we remain confident that any improvements can only add to the success of the market offer.
"The market always will be a mix of short and long-term traders and we are committed to working with all of them for the benefit of traders and customers.”