Manchester

Wigan market traders in rent protest

Almost 100 traders at Wigan Market are withholding part of their rent over a dispute with the council.

Stallholders say they have consulted independent experts who agree that Wigan Council is overcharging for rent and rates at the market.

Mike O'Connor from Wigan Market Traders Association said traders were "all sticking together" and paying 30% less for their pitches in protest.

Susan Gambles, from the council, said the authority had reduced rents by 10%.

'Massively affected '

Mr O'Connor said: "We have consulted an independent company who have regenerated Bury and Bolton markets and they agree we are paying far too much.

"Rents were high in 1990 when the new market was opened and we have had numerous increases since then.

"The main problem is the council sold off the car park to the NHS and opened a new shopping centre to be built just 300 yards away.

"It has massively affected us because it is getting all the footfall and it has led to empty stalls."

Ms Gambles said: "We haven't increased rents since 2007 and in fact we have actually reduced rents by 10% in order to take into account the rates and the new valuations that the valuations officer has undertaken.

"We want to continue to work in partnership with (traders) to find a solution to this because the market and the traders are very important to the vitality of the town."

She said footfall across the town had "very slightly" increased.

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