To receive a report (attached) on proposed market pitch fees and consider the recommendations therein.
The Committee received a report and was asked to consider the recommendations therein regarding proposed market pitch fees.
The Committee was reminded that management of the street market was a discretionary service to the community and that as such, there was no legal requirement for consultation. However, in line with good practice, the Town Council had undertaken consultation over a period of time.
The Committee was reminded that a previous fee structure had been agreed in 2017 but it had been agreed to defer implementation of any increases until 1 April 2018 to allow time for traders to plan and budget accordingly.
Ongoing discussions had taken place in respect of the agreed fee structure and the revised proposals were as a direct result of feedback given by traders and trader representatives. The fee for additional space beyond the maximum of three standard pitches had been reduced from £2.10 per square metre to £0.50 per square metre. In addition, it was recommended to award traders a long service discount on pitch fees.
It was reiterated that no pitch fee changes had been implemented since the Town Council took over the running of the street market in 2012, but that the time had come to standardise fees and ensure a fair and transparent fee structure which would apply equally to every trader.
Under the revised proposals, 8 out of 30 permanent traders would see no change in their pitch fee. 11 would see a reduced fee as a result of the long service discount, and 11 would see an increase, which would be implemented in a gradual process depending on the amount of the increase. Up to 24 months would be allowed in order for rent equalisation to be achieved.
Committee members expressed support for the proposals but recognised that the complexity might be difficult for some to clearly understand. Councillors asked that each trader be given clear, personalised communication as to the nature of their own fee and how the recommendations would affect these.
A query was raised regarding turnover of traders. It was noted that the market industry was one with frequent fluctuations and that it was a particularly challenging retail environment at present. This very fact had necessitated the market relaunch project, with every effort being made to ensure the market would change, grow and develop in order to survive into the future.
On being proposed and seconded, the four recommendations being put to the Committee were agreed unanimously.
1.1 To endorse the proposal that Casual market traders pay £23 per pitch at 3m x 3m per pitch.
1.2 To endorse that additional square metre space taken above the standard maximum space of 27 square metres is charged at .50p per metre.
1.3 To endorse recognition of trader’s ‘long service’ for permanent traders by offering a whole pitch fee discount according to years served:
i. 5 years and over: 5% discount
ii. 10 years and over: 10% discount
iii. 15 years and over: 15% discount
iv. 20 years and over: 20% discount
1.4 To endorse an incremental approach for permanent traders to achieve the new pitch fee owed from 01/04/18 over a period of up to 24 months based on the approach set out below:
i. Month one: pay current fee plus up to £4 (applied to all traders relevant to their individual circumstances.
ii. Month two onwards: traders with greater than £4 pitch fee increases will pay monthly incremental increases of 10% per month of the remaining difference.
iii. Month two onwards: traders with greater than 45% pitch fee increases will pay monthly incremental increases of 5% per month of the remaining difference, over a period of 24 months.