Plea for market rent holiday extension rejected
Calls for a market traders’ rent holiday in Sandwell to be extended so they can rebuild their businesses has been rejected by council bosses.
Members of the borough’s emergency committee have voted through a recommendation to reinstate charges as stallholders returned to high streets this week.
Councillors backed the plans despite calls by traders and a last minute plea by MP Nicola Richards for the council hold off on its plans.
To help rebuild businesses stall charges will remain suspended during June, followed by a 50 percent discount in July for indoor market traders before full fees return in August.
Normal charges for outdoor market stalls will begin next month.
Councillor Yvonne Davies, leader of Sandwell Council, defending the decision said: “It’s been a tough time for market traders and it must have been extremely difficult for them not being able to trade.
“I’m really pleased that the majority will have qualified for government assistance during this time, though undoubtedly that won’t compare to the cost of them being unable to trade.
“The council does have to bring in an income to provide services that many people rely on. Market rents are one of those incomes that contribute to council budgets to enable us to provide services to residents.
“I’m pleased we will be able to offer indoor market stalls a reduced rate of rent until we return to charging full fees from August 1, 2020.”
Fees were suspended in March when Sandwell closed markets in line with government coronavirus restrictions.
The council’s decision came after West Bromwich East MP, Nicola Richards, wrote asking for the rent suspension to continue.
The indoor market at West Bromwich reopened earlier this week.
In a letter to Councillor Davies she pleaded for the council to hold off, saying: “Market traders are the life blood of our town centre and they have shown such resilience and courage in the last few months. We cannot let the down.”