LONG-ESTABLISHED market traders have been angered by Barnsley Council’s decision to hike daily rent charges - with some being asked to pay treble their usual amount.
The market - on Wombwell’s High Street - has pitches multiple days a week.
Regular traders have elongated their stalls for years to make up the empty space from a lack of traders, selling various items such as clothing, footwear and homeware goods to try and make profits to maintain their businesses.
Many of these stall-holders have sold products for decades, passing on their trade to younger family members.
Avi Singh, who has held his stall for over 30 years, told the Chronicle: “We can’t afford to pay such a big difference - we have always complied and say we will shorten our stalls if new traders want to join the market but they never do.
“We’re not hurting anyone and they’re killing the market - a lot of traders have left already over the years.
“If they’re going to make us shorten our stalls and charge us more money for it, people can’t see our products properly and we won’t make any money to get by.”
One trader - Ernie Cawley, who has clocked up 32 years’ service - vowed to pack up and leave the market following the notice from the council because it will be ‘too expensive’ to continue selling.
“Times are very hard and the markets haven’t picked up much since Covid - we can’t afford to pay this.
“The council haven’t done anything to support our markets - we provide our own stalls, covers, frames and we have no toilets or clean facilities.
“This needs to change as we already pay for our pitches when we can’t open because of extreme weather or other circumstances even if we’re not there.
“Prices are going to go from around £26.40 to £80 for us to have the space we’ve always used.”
Coun Robert Frost, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, told the Chronicle no rent increases have been brought in - but the stallholders’ payments for larger pitches were fair.
“We’re proud of our outdoor markets and have a history of investing in their success.
“During the pandemic, our outdoor market stallholders received six discretionary payments directly from the council to support them during lockdowns and help them recover from Covid-19.
“To help continue supporting our market traders, there has been no increase in rents.
“Stallholders pay rent based on the space they use, with those taking increasingly larger spaces expected to pay more to make it fair for all stallholders.
“We have contacted all stallholders to let them know we will review the space they currently use, making sure they’re charged accordingly.
“We have given them time to review their current layouts, so they can make any changes and make sure they’re operating in a suitable space for their needs.”