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Stalham market celebrates rent cuts success

13:57 05 September 2012

Stalham Market. Stall holder Russell Godbold.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Stalham Market. Stall holder Russell Godbold. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

Traders are celebrating the success of a rents cut initiative which has more than doubled the size of Stalham market in its first week.

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By the start of last month, the number of stalls at the Tuesday market had fallen from more than 100 at its height – before the arrival of Tesco in 2002 – to just three.

Stallholders warned that without urgent action the market would be dead by Christmas and North Norfolk District Council responded by announcing a reduction in rent for casual traders from £30 to £10 throughout September.

Yesterday, joining the ever faithful pet food and plant stalls and burger van were traders selling clothing, candles, bedding and cushions as well as a replacement windows firm.

Relieved that the car park at the top end of the High Street was looking far more like a market, pet food trader Steve Staddon said: “This is going to be do or die but there have been encouraging comments from all my regular customers so far.

“We could still do with an extra four or five stalls, hopefully including a butcher and fruit and veg outlet, but this has been very encouraging.”

Plants trader Christine Boggis said she was pleased to see more signs being put up in the High Street directing people to the market. “I hope people come along and see the extra stalls here,” she said.

Clothing trader Russell Godbold, returning to Stalham market after a long gap, declared the council initiative a “fantastic idea”. He said: “The only way to move forward is reasonable rents. Hopefully, in the long run, even more traders will come here.”

Market supervisor Russell Tanner said it had been a good start and he hoped to persuade more traders at Sheringham and Cromer markets to come to Stalham. Council leader Keith Johnson said they valued markets as part of the community. In the longer term they would consider all options, including the traders’ preference to move into Stalham High Street.

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