CHESTERFIELD: Traders call on council to save their stalls

Lisa Prisk and other unhappy market traders who have been put in temporary stalls in Chesterfield where they say they are hidden from potential customers who don't know they are there
Lisa Prisk and other unhappy market traders who have been put in temporary stalls in Chesterfield where they say they are hidden from potential customers who don't know they are there
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Angry market traders have issued an ultimatum to council chiefs to save their stalls.

Chesterfield stall-holders say trade has dropped since moving in to the temporary market hall and they have lost thousands of pounds.

Some traders fear they may have to shut up shop and will not see the revamped market hall open.

Lisa Prisk, of Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe, said she had not made any money since moving in to the unit last October.

She added: “We are fed up of not having any footfall. It’s dead and we are starting to have more staff than customers.”

“I’ve had to reduce my staff and in three months I haven’t taken a penny myself.

“We know it has been a difficult time for everyone but we just feel we’ve had it in both barrels and people don’t know we are here,” she said.

Businesses say the unit is in the wrong place, there is not enough signage or publicity and feel they should get a bigger discount on their rents.

Tara Kreeger of Venus Footwear and Karen Hill who runs the hosiery stall say their takings are down 50 per cent since the move.

Karen added: “It’s too far out and even the regulars aren’t coming down.

“With the money I have taken I’m going to struggle in the summer to keep going. A lot of people are finding it hard and may not be able to continue.”

Traders are based in the temporary structure, in New Square Arena, while the £3.6m improvements are made to the town’s indoor market area.

The market hall is scheduled to reopen in September.

Chesterfield Borough Council may now consider reducing rents on a case-by-case basis where traders can demonstrate extreme hardship.

Leader, John Burrows said: “Chesterfield Market Hall is a focal point of the town.

“Chesterfield Borough Council’s investment of more than £4m is a measure of how important we feel markets are to the town’s future.

“The redevelopment work began last October with the new Market Hall due to open in September this year.

“All traders who vacated the Market Hall were paid agreed compensation to reflect the disturbance they experienced. While the work is being carried out, we have housed traders in a high quality temporary structure in the closest place possible to the existing Market Hall – meaning that anyone who previously shopped there only has a short distance to walk.

“This is the site which traders asked for and was provided at considerable expense with traders expressing their satisfaction with the quality of the trading environment.

“We have invested heavily in signage with hoardings outside the Market Hall directing shoppers to the temporary building. We have also placed a list of traders in a prominent position at the entrance to encourage shoppers to come in and we placed advertising on local radio to promote the facility. We also encouraged traders to take part in a joint marketing scheme but, so far, none have taken this up.

“The rents that traders pay in the Market Hall are competitive. Indoor traders also do not have to set up and clear away each day like outdoor traders. The service charge the traders pay to use the temporary Market Hall is also heavily subsidised.

“We understand that some traders experienced a downturn in their normal trade in the run up to Christmas but this has been the case for most traders in what is a difficult economic climate nationally.

“I am aware that some traders have experienced more difficulty in trading than others and where this is the case, the council can consider reducing rents on a case-by-case basis where traders can demonstrate extreme hardship.

“Officers from the council continue to meet regularly with traders to offer help and advice.”