Saturday stalls could be closed

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PROPOSALS to hike up weekly rents for market traders and close the “unofficial” Saturday market in Matlock have been recommended by Derbyshire Dales District Council.

The decisions were announced as part of a major review by the council to “increase the efficiency” of the markets at Matlock, Wirksworth, Bakewell and Ashbourne.

Following the in-depth study, the council has drawn up a list of recommendations, including a move away from traders’ cash payments for rent in favour of a direct debit system, improvements to all market signage to ensure shoppers are aware, and to encourage ‘casual’ traders – who pay less than licensed traders – to sign up to become fully-licensed to aid the stability of the markets.

But a move to hike up fees and shut down Saturday’s stalls has attracted criticism.

Paul Bestwick, who runs PB Bargains, has spoken out before and admits he was not surprised by the latest news.

He said: “They just do not want us here. By what they are doing, it’s basically saying they want rid of us.”

Paul, who has been a trader for 22 years, says the decision to close the Saturday market would reduce lighting and heating overheads, but he insists there is little heating and the lights are already on a timer.

He said: “They are turning money away if they close that [the Saturday market]. They are just throwing money away, even if they say they are trying to save it. There would be no more outlay then there is now.Saturday is not brilliant for us anyway, but it will have a knock-on effect.

“It’s a no-brainer, it won’t cost them any more open.”

In addition, he feels forcing casual traders to shell out for licenses is also a short-sighted move.

“It does not matter if traders are licensed or unlicensed, if you get rid of them, you won’t get a penny out of them. The council just doesn’t care.”

Derbyshire Dales District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee are to hold a meeting on March 22, but said it would not be the end of the matter with more consultation planned.

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