'Special treatment' for stallholders angers Blackburn market traders
BLACKBURN market traders are furious over alleged ‘special treatment’ for Artisan Row ‘trial’ stallholders.
They have complained to manager Keith Holden after he sent out a letter reminding them to pay a backdated service charge rise.
The traders are angry over a new free seating area for Artisan Row customers when some pay £300 a month for a shared table area near their takeaway food stalls.
They claim that some incubator stallholders appear to be using the £50 a month cheap rents to become permanent market traders without signing long leases at full rents of £500 to £2,000 a month.
Claire Khan, of Well Bread, and Sharon Aharoni, of the neigh-bouring deli stall, pay £300 a month for use of the shared seating. They are angry at the new seating and eating area on a nearby aisle.
Mrs Khan said: “We pay hundreds of pounds a year for our seating and people on Artisan Row are getting it for nothing. It’s just not fair.”
Miss Aharoni said: “Some of the incubator stalls have been there since last summer. I thought it was six months maximum and then they pay full rent or are out.”
Daniel Moffett, of Butler’s Family Restaurant, said: “Traders are very unhappy about the increased service charge, even with a 50 per cent reduction. Many are con-sidering refusing to pay.”
The council reduced the new fees and halved the retrospective increase for last year. Under the original plan the annual cost would have risen to £19.90 or £21.90 per square foot. They were reduced to £19.14 or £21.14 per square foot. The backdating of £600 plus was halved.
Mark Smith, the man behind Artisan Row, said: “The new seating is not for Artisan Row stallholders but for customers of every trader and the time limit for Artisan Row was always nine months, not six.”