Market must be warmer and more modern

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The Festival Market needs to be warmer and more modern-looking, claims a worried stallholder.

Customers are put off from visiting the market by the lack of heating, said the trader, who wished to remain anonymous.

“I’m happy where the market is, but I think they should make the building welcoming and comfortable by putting in automatic doors,” she said.

“There should be some form of heating so more customers will come in. A lot of our customers are elderly.

“We’re not allowed to use heaters. If we do use them, the electric cuts off.

“And we don’t have the option of not opening in severe weather.”

Her calls came as Lancaster City Council began reviewing the market’s future and looking into some of its problems.

Recently more than 10 struggling traders were given notice to quit due to rent arrears after a washout summer of poor trade.

“Your paper said last week that daily charges for traders was £14 to £22 per day for stalls and £17.25 to £22.25 per day for shops, but that’s just basic rent,” said the trader.

“We also have to pay for electricity, security, public liability insurance and posters if we want them.

“It can actually cost up to £800 per month to run a stall, and a lot of traders have three stalls.

“We’re definitely on a downer at the moment.

“Nobody was in arrears under the old system of rent collection. They changed it about 12 months ago.

“We have asked the council to go back to the old system. Surely the cost of a debt management company is more than the cost of paying G4 Services to come and collect the rent?”