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Call for market rent reductions in Ripon and Knaresborough shut down

Call for market rent reductions in Ripon and Knaresborough shut down

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 6:51am 12th July 2020.

An independent councillor has suggested a rent reprieve for traders, but council bosses say they've 'done the best they can'. 

  • Councillor Pauline McHardy has called for market traders in Ripon and Knaresborough to be given a rent reduction or holiday
  • She says traders have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic and 'make major economic contributions to the areas'
  • But a council cabinet member has responded by saying 'we've done the best we can'

 

An independent councillor’s call for market traders in Knaresborough and Ripon to be given rent reprieves has been shut down by senior Conservatives.

Harrogate Borough Council announced during lockdown that stall fees would be frozen at last year’s prices to help struggling traders stay afloat.

The authority also waived fees for stallholders who chose not to return their pitches because of coronavirus fears.

But Ripon Independent’s Councillor Pauline McHardy said the council should now go one further by offering all traders rent holidays or reductions.

 

Knaresborough markets on market day 2

 

Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday, Cllr Pauline McHardy said:

“Over many years the market traders in Ripon and Knaresborough have by keeping the markets functioning made major economic contributions to the areas – and have helped to increase visitor numbers and tourists.

“Now is the time to show the traders they are valued in the same way as the businesses. This could be achieved by way of a reduction in rent or indeed a rent free period over a given time.”

“It is alright saying we are only charging them what we did last year – they shouldn’t have been getting charged that anyway”, she said.

“The rent freeze is not actually helping them financially.

“Other areas have been giving them rent free – but our council hasn’t.”

In response, Coun Andrew Paraskos, Conservative cabinet member for environment, waste reduction and recycling, said:

“We have traders in Knaresborough queuing up to be given a permanent pitch which is great and shows what a popular and vibrant market this is.

“Unfortunately Knaresborough has bounced back a lot quicker than Ripon.

“We have done the best we can and hopefully the trade will pick up again.”