‘Disgust’ as Dudley market traders’ rent left up in air - with VIDEO
A new management team is being brought in to run Dudley Market - sparking anger among traders who say they have been kept in the dark about what the deal will mean for them.
Dudley Council announced Tudor Markets has been chosen after submitting a 'strong and ambitious bid'.
But traders insisted they were not given a say over the agreement and raised concerns they could be facing a rents hike.
Around a dozen stallholders gathered outside Dudley Council House on Thursday night to protest against the decision.
Many have already been angered by potential changes to working terms and conditions.
Council bosses said it has challenged companies to show they could 'drive forward' the market and bring more footfall and that is was confident Tudor was the company to do that. It will take over at the start of July.
But market manager Len Lenihan said: "We don't know what the rents are.
"Any business needs to have a level of certainty going forward. There will be nothing but uncertainty until July 1.
"They don't know whether they will carry on trading."
Wayne Thomas, who runs a vaping stall and has been on the market for 20 years, said: "It's ridiculous. We haven't had a choice.
"We have just been put to one side. They have already made their minds up.
"I'm disgusted with the way we have been treated. We don't know what we are going to do or what the future is."
Dudley Council strategic director Alan Lunt said: “Dudley Market is at the heart of Dudley town centre which is why it was essential that we picked the strongest team to build on the work and investment delivered by Dudley Council.
“We are excited to be working with Tudor Markets whose application really stood out against some very good local competition in the tender process.
"We’ve had some very positive discussions with the team and we’re looking forward to welcoming them and their ambitious plans to Dudley.”
James Willis, director of Tudor Markets said: “We will look to meet with the traders as soon as possible to reassure them of our plans to improve the market and increase footfall in the town centre.
“We’re looking forward to working with the existing traders, looking at ways to develop and enhance the market to make Dudley a vibrant place where people want to work and shop.”