A PETITION with 14,000 names put pressure on the council this week to help struggling market traders in Sheffield.
The protest was lodged in response to the authority ending a three-year 40% rent discount that had been introduced to help stallholders in the rundown Castle Market through difficult times.
Ian Bingham, who runs the Bingham and Brown fruit and vegetable stall and is vice-president of the local Market Traders’ Federation, said: “We need the discount, which ends this month, in order to survive.
“Without it, traders will face a huge burden at a time when customer numbers have been declining.
“We should have moved into the new market by 2010 but it’s still not ready and, if we have to pay higher rents, there may not be many stalls left to move into it.
“The rent for my stall will increase from £1,200 a month to £2,000. Traders cannot afford that sort of increase when footfall has decreased by 13% in the last year and the council may lose many of us.”
The petition was handed to the council’s cabinet, which, at the same meeting yesterday (Wednesday), was expected to confirm a deal designed to break the impasse over the relocation of the markets from Castlegate to The Moor.
The council is set to borrow £18m and to build the market hall itself instead of the lead being taken by a private developer. A site has already been cleared near the bottom of the precinct.