|Traders can look to forward to a “strong and successful” future at Wigan market
Cllr David Molyneux, deputy leader of Wigan Council, and Tony Fletcher, assistant retail officer.
Traders at Wigan market can look forward to a “strong and successful” future after agreeing a new deal with Wigan Council.
The market’s stallholders have all signed new interim licences ending a long-running dispute over rent. The council now wants to move on and work with traders to strengthen the market and attract new customers.
Council officers issued an ultimatum last week calling on a small number of traders who had failed to agree to the new licences to sign up or face eviction. They’ve now received all outstanding licences.
Councillor David Molyneux, deputy leader of Wigan Council, said: “It’s a huge relief this matter has finally been resolved. After two difficult years, I hope we can now focus once again on the important issue at hand – making Wigan market the best in the region.”
The new licences were agreed between the traders’ official representatives and the council. The majority of stallholders signed up immediately but a handful had refused to accept the new terms. They were warned action would be taken against them if they failed to agree by Friday 6 September.
The council issued the ultimatum following a long-running dispute that has seen some traders withholding part of their rent - costing the council more than £150,000 in lost revenue. That meant taxpayers were subsidising the traders and the council was losing important income at a time of cuts to its budget.
Councillor Molyneux said: “We reluctantly issued these final warnings because, after two years of negotiations, we felt progress was not forthcoming and the situation had reached a standstill.
“The council is committed to the market and wants to work with traders to ensure it has a strong and successful future.”
The dispute began when the government changed the way business rates were collected in 2011. Before then, the council paid the rates on the whole of the market. The new legislation meant traders were responsible for paying the rates for their own stalls. The traders and the council disagreed over the size of any rebate the traders should receive for paying the business rates.
Interim licences were issued to all traders setting out the rebate they will receive - taking into account the amount of money they owe the council.
A spokesperson for the Wigan Market Traders’ Committee said: “It’s very good news this issue has now ended and we can concentrate on growing our businesses and growing the market.”