NEW rent rates could push markets in Kirklees over the edge, a councillor has warned.
Clr John Smithson is worried at a 5% rise in stall rents which councillors voted through yesterday.
In Huddersfield Open Market a 9ft long stall will cost £15.70 a day, up from £14.90.
In Dewsbury the rate will rise from £13.20 to £13.90 while in Batley the charge will be £12.70, from £12.10.
Clr Smithson said: “I wonder whether these new rates will push markets over the edge.”
The Almondbury Lib Dem thinks markets are struggling. He added: “There was a time when markets were a great source of income, but I’m told that Batley, for example, has only one regular stall.”
Clr Smithson believes that increasing rates is counter-productive. He said: “I don’t think the income will grow because people will pack up their stalls and leave. We should be helping markets grow.”
Clr Smithson made the remarks at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s Cabinet yesterday.
But Conservative Cabinet members disagreed.
Clr David Hall, the member for finance and business services, said: “I don’t think rents will force traders out. I think the problem is more that customers prefer to go to the supermarket instead.”
The Cabinet’s member for regeneration, Clr Ken Sims, said Dewsbury Market was doing well when he visited it last weekend. He said: “It was thriving and everyone was positive, apart from a few whingers.”
Clr Sims believes rent rises would have a limited effect.
He said: “I don’t think the increases will break the bank.”
The Cabinet voted unanimously to approve the new charges, which come into effect from November 1.
For more information visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/Secure/meetings/pdfs/1007/CABINET10100728890D.pdf