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Rent cut offer on extra stalls take-up

Traders on Wolverhampton's struggling markets will be offered reduced rent if they take on extra stalls.


Traders on Wolverhampton's struggling markets will be offered reduced rent if they take on extra stalls.

The rent cut is part of a proposed "incentives package" aimed at securing the future of the markets by boosting income. Stallholders in the city centre will be charged £25 a week if they take on another stall that has been vacant for more than six weeks.

Wolverhampton Indoor Market, which has 108 units, is currently at its lowest occupancy levels, with 45 units vacant.

Council bosses have launched a consultation with traders about improving business, leading to the new plans for incentive packages being unveiled. The proposals include offering existing traders at the indoor market reduced rents of £25 a week for occupying vacant stalls.

Those taking up the offer will have to sign a weekly licence, to be reviewed and renewed each Friday.

At Bilston market, traders would be able to take over an additional stall for £10 a day from Mondays to Fridays after 9am, while four vacant stalls at Wednesfield market could be occupied for £5 on Tuesday, Fridays and Saturdays.

At Wolverhampton's outdoor market, £5 flat rates would be offered for traders wanting extra stalls would be introduced on Wednesdays, while stallholders on all of the city's markets who introduce friends to set up for 13 weeks would be given a 20 per cent rent reduction for a month. The incentive plans also include a 12-week rent-free business start-up scheme for new stallholders, offering a trade line that is not currently represented on the indoor market.

A report to the council's cabinet resources panel states: "The proposed amended incentives packages offers stalls at a much reduced rate. However, these stalls are currently vacant and therefore currently generate no income for the service.

"It is hoped that income generated through the proposed amended incentives packages will support delivery of the markets service 2010-11 base budget."

The report claims that if the packages were used to full potential, the service could be boosted by more than £122,000 over the next year. Recent figures showed that 5,452 people visit the market on average, compared with 6,410 in 2008.

Plans have been revealed to move stalls into Dudley Street to bring them closer to shoppers but no action will be taken until at least next year.

In December it was revealed that taxpayers in Wolverhampton had lost out by £178,000 in eight months because of Wolverhampton's ailing markets. The loss was due to a drop in revenue from rents.

Three on-line petitions have been launched on Facebook to try to secure the future of the markets.

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