Rents at a Black Country market will be frozen for the next year, it was revealed today – as traders work with council bosses on plans for a £6 million revamp of the site.
Council chiefs say they want to support traders during the "tough trading period" and to encourage new businesses to set up stalls at Dudley Market.
And any traders setting up new stalls on the central aisle of the market will get half-price rent. Stallholders have welcomed the freeze in rates but say the prices are still too high.
But the council claims the rent is one of the lowest in the country for market traders and insists they are getting good value for money.
More than 2,500 people signed a petition against the revamp of the market but traders have now agreed to help the council draw up revised plans.
Under the proposals the market place would be revamped and new stalls with canopies would be installed.
The number of stalls would be reduced from the current 74 pitches but space would be provided so temporary stalls could be brought in on busy days.
Rates per day range from £9.18 to £32.66. There are 10 different levels of rent, and more is charged for weekends than weekdays.
Traders also have to pay a surcharge of between £2 and £3.50 each day, and £5 at Christmas.
David Flavell, whose family has run a fruit and veg stall at Dudley Market for 200 years, said: "I'm pleased the rent won't be going up but times are hard for a lot of people and Ithink it is still too high.
"They are probably just putting off the inevitable and it will still go up in years to come."
Deputy council leader Councillor Tim Wright said: "We are mindful of the current economic climate and by not increasing stall rents we can ensure they remain amongst the lowest in the Midlands."