Market rent hike angers stallholders

A NUMBER of regular stallholders at the weekly Halesworth market were missing yesterday as the row over site rents continued.With the sun shining the market helped to attract many people to the north Suffolk town but customers admitted they were worried about more stallholders leaving.

By David Lennard

A NUMBER of regular stallholders at the weekly Halesworth market were missing yesterday as the row over site rents continued.

With the sun shining the market helped to attract many people to the north Suffolk town but customers admitted they were worried about more stallholders leaving.

Waveney District Council has introduced a new rent structure for stall sites on the market with some stallholders facing increases of more than 300%.


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“Something has to be done otherwise Halesworth will be a market town without a market,” said Joan Brown, a regular visitor.

Many people added their names to “Save Our Market” petitions, which already have large backing.

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Nigel Skipper, who has been running a household and garden discount stall on the market since 1995, will be leaving Halesworth market in the next few weeks.

“I have been left with no choice as the rent rises are just too much.

“The council has to realise that Halesworth is only a small town with a small market and they want to charge me in the region of £67 for this site which is simply ridiculous,” said Mr Skipper.

Mr Skipper has placed a notice on his stall explaining his position to customers.

“As you know the rent has increased by a lot so I've decided to pull off this market by the end of June.

“It's been a lot of fun here and I've got lots of good memories but it's time to move on. Thank you for all your support over the years,” says the notice.

Mr Skipper admits it was not an easy decision to make.

“The customers here are very loyal and I did not want to go but the huge increases in our weekly site rents has left me with no choice,” he said.

Mr Skipper will be opening a shop selling discounted household and garden items in Great Yarmouth in the next few weeks and will also have a stall on the Sunday market at Ellough, near Beccles.

“I hope to be able to continue serving people from the Halesworth area as they are just great,” he said.

Other stallholders on the market said they were still considering what to do.

The popular cake and sweet stall run by Darryl Brown was one of the stalls missing.

Mr Brown has been an outspoken critic of the rent rises in the past.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said the new rent prices introduced in April this year were fair and reflected the fact that there had not been any increase in stall rents since 1994.

“In setting the price structures we have to be fair to stallholders and the council tax payers of Waveney.

“I hope that the stallholders will recognise this and that the market in Halesworth, and those at Southwold and Beccles, continue to thrive,” he said.

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