Market traders rejoice as big rent cut recommended by Great Yarmouth Borough Council
- Credit: Archant
Market traders are rejoicing after councillors listened to their pleas to slash their rents.
A committee decision means rents on the town's two day market could go from being the third highest in the region, to the third lowest.
A report prepared by a Great Yarmouth Borough Council officer recommended rents be cut to £1 per foot – from the £1.73 current rate.
But councillors on the policy and resources committee went one step further by voting to cut that in half, to 50p per foot rate.
One trader, who along with other stallholders packed into the Town Hall for the meeting, said they were gobsmacked.
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He added: 'The council have given us the best possible chance to turn this market around now.
'At that price if we don't fill up in a year there's no hope for any of us.'
MORE: Great Yarmouth Market shrinks by half in a year as traders leave in drovesHe thinks there could be an extra 50 traders in a year's time.
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Under the current rental arrangements only Bury St Edmunds and Hunstanton have higher rents, but the town could now be lowest apart from Swaffham and Fakenham.
In a report seen by councillors it was recommended that fees be reduced for permanent traders to £1 per square foot, a reduction of 42pc.
However, an amendment proposed by Labour councillor Michael Jeal was to reduce the fees by a further 50p per square foot, paid for out of the Town Centre Initiative fund.
It was agreed that the extra rent reduction could be funded for a year before being increased again to £1 and adjusted for inflation.
Permanent traders will get a rent reduction for 12 months to 50p per square foot and casual traders will pay 30pc more.
The two day market was once among the largest in the country, but like other markets Great Yarmouth's two day offering has suffered a decline owing to changing shopping preferences.
This newspaper reported that the market had shrunk from over 100 stalls 15 years ago to 18 at the height of summer and just eight this week.
Traders believed the decline has accelerated in recent months because of a policy change a year ago which saw traders charged for all the space they occupied, which they said amounted to an increase of 30pc in rents, despite a headline 2.5pc cut across the board.
The full borough council will now vote on the proposals.