Traders within Preston Market Hall have demanded their rents are slashed in half.Advertisement
A letter sent by the Market Traders Association on 13 May details how fed-up market traders feel they are getting a raw deal.
More than a month on Sam Livesey, chairman of the Market Traders, say they have not received a response from Preston City Council – who manage the market – beyond an acknowledgement it has been received.
Mr Livesey said the traders were considering resorting to strike action because of a number of issues in the market and the surrounding area.
A copy of the letter, given to Blog Preston, outlined complaints about the temperature in the market, a lack of parking, vacant stalls and building works ongoing nearby.
Mr Livesey writes, on behalf of the Traders: “Due to the lack of acceptable strategy to combat issues in the Market and any assistance being put forward by the council it has been agreed that it has now become necessary for Traders to pursue their own course of action in attempt to negate the issues faced.
“This action is to call for an immediate rent review, seeking to reduce the rent by 50 per cent for new and incoming traders, until such a point as the old Market redevelopment has opened.
“A rent review has been proposed as it would go some way to alleviate the financial hardship being suffered by current market traders and aid avoiding additional business closures. This would also entice new businesses into the Market.
“Currently the vacant stands are detrimentally impacting the market as a whole.
“Customer feedback is that the variety of products on offer is falling short of what is wanted and expected from a market, thus diminishing the frequency of visits.
“We sincerely hope that the council can see the benefits of the course of action as put forward and will therefore agree with and support this proposal, with the long-term benefits in mind.”
Read more: Preston Market Hall wins award for ‘best use of publicly owned land’
Mr Livesey then goes on to threaten a strike by traders.
He said: “Should the council not be in agreement with this proposed course of action, the Market Traders Association intend to commence strike action, including petitioning and staged walk outs and demonstrations.
“In the wake of public opinion, as demonstrated in recent Blog Preston and Lancashire Post coverage, we would ancitipate generating local and potentially national coverage. The aim being to escalate the issues above local council level.”
Mr Livesey goes on to say they are reserving the right to take strike action specifically if the cold temperatures in the market are not resolved by October this year.
Cabinet member for environment councillor Robert Boswell, who has responsibility for the Market Hall, said: “We are in constant dialogue with Preston Market traders and have received and acknowledged a formal letter from the Market Traders’ Association outlining a number of issues.
“In order to seriously consider their significant demands and be able to devise a reasonable plan of action, we have to follow due process. Unfortunately this process takes time. We have a number of critical meetings in the coming weeks and will be able to provide a clear detailed response to the letter when these have been concluded and agreed by members.
“In the meantime, officers continue to work closely with traders to focus on the success of Preston Markets and their individual businesses.”
Read more: Update on the demolition of the former Market and car park