11:24 Wednesday 16 January 2013

Council makes 'monster' out of Burton - claim

Written byBY HELEN KREFT

Burton market Burton market

A COUNCIL has ‘created a monster’ by moving Burton’s market to Station Street, a trader has claimed.

Wendy Newitt, of Woods Fruit and Veg, also blasted East Staffordshire Borough Council, for refusing to reduce the rent for traders in the market hall after the outdoor market was moved to Station Street.

She said: “Most of the traders have left because they are not making enough money to pay the rent. They have written to the council asking for a reduction in rent, due to the drastic decrease in footfall, which the council has created by moving the outdoor market. The answer was very scathing and basically said it’s up to each individual to advertise their business.

“These traders have worked for weeks without taking a wage out of their businesses for themselves.”

She also said that very few traders will be entitled to more than £1,000 compensation when the market hall shuts for refurbishment in September – however the council declined to comment on individual cases.

Mrs Newitt added: “These traders know they cannot work from popup gazebo’s in the centre of the market hall, which will have to be emptied every evening.

“This council has created a monster - destroyed a lot of peoples’ lives, and devastated most of the elderly population of Burton.

“Burton’s public would love the market back in the square, and now that sorry excuse for a fair has gone, and given the fact that there are no plans for events for the Market Square until the summer why can’t it happen?

“The market hall and the outdoor market need to be together. It is like a close knit community, the atmosphere, the social chit chat, the bespoke businesses, the friendship.”

Councillor David Leese, deputy leader for partnerships at the borough council said: “We have always encouraged the local traders to advertise their business as much as possible alongside what is done by the council.

“Our research into other successful markets has shown that the model of flexible trading units is very effective and offers shoppers a valuable and diverse shopping experience.

“We have also supported market traders by freezing rents for the last three years.

“The vast majority of existing market traders whole heartedly support the market development and this has been reinforced by the number of traders who have applied for a unit in the refurbished market hall. With regard to the comment that we are ruining people’s lives, the council has taken the decision to redevelop the market to ensure the market’s longevity.

“Since its move to Station Street the footfall for the market has increased. This was one of the council’s objectives along with increasing the number of traders, something else we have achieved. What we cannot be held accountable for is whether shoppers choose to buy from the traders or not.”

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