King’s Lynn market traders set for 50 per cent hike in stall rent

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Market traders in Lynn could find themselves having to pay 50 per cent more for their pitches under proposals to be considered by a committee of councillors.

The plan, which follows the Tuesday market’s move into the Vancouver Quarter, includes a proposal to revive a Friday market, which existing traders would be able to attend for the same rent as they pay for their current pitches.

Council officials insist the rise would reflect the central position the market now occupies, though traders say they would not benefit from a Friday market as they are already committed to trading elsewhere.

Details of the proposals, which form part of a wider review of the markets in Lynn and Hunstanton, were revealed in a report to the West Norfolk Council’s regeneration, environment and community panel, which met on Wednesday night.

Initial talks have taken place between the council and the Vancouver Quarter’s management on keeping the Tuesday market in its current location on New Conduit Street, Baxter’s Plain and Broad Street.

And the report said the Vancouver Quarter had proposed a 50 per cent rise in the cost of Tuesday market pitches to reflect the better trading position and the fees other street traders pay for similar stalls in the area.

Martin Chisholm, the authority’s business manager, said the traders were taking significantly more money in their new positions than they had on the Tuesday Market Place.

He said: “If you want to use the Vancouver Quarter’s space, you have to pay for it.”

But Snettisham councillor Avril Wright said it seemed unfair to impose such a large increase in the wake of the market’s move out of its traditional home.

And traders standing on the first Tuesday market of the new year this week said they were keen to stay in the town centre, but far less keen on the rent increase plan.

Kevin Ritchie, who sells cakes and preserves, said: “90 to 95 per cent of the traders want to stay in this area because this is where the people are.”

But he suggested that regular traders should enjoy some relief from any rent rise.

Watch repairer Garry Monger said he had already expressed an interest in the Friday market, but others said they already trade on other markets on those days.

And seafood trader Lee Kelly said: “I don’t see how they can increase the rents.”

Panel members agreed to set up a working group to examine market sites, future operations and rent levels.

The committee will also look at how £90,000 of cash drawn from legal agreements reached in connection with the retail developments on the Hardwick estate, which has been earmarked for markets, could be used in areas such as improving power supplies for stalls and increased promotion.

The group is expected to report its findings in March.