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Market traders on the brink thank the Tribune

‘It’s lifesaving’ – paper’s intervention sees Town Hall waive fees for cash-strapped stallholders

08 January, 2021 — By Calum Fraser

An empty Chapel Market on Wednesday

STREET traders hailed the Tribune’s intervention this week after the council promised to drop fees that stall-holders said were pushing them to the brink.

The Town Hall was faced with a warning that the famous Chapel Market in Angel might not ever get back to normal if it kept on demanding full pitch and storage fees.

After the Tribune detailed concerns of traders who say they are working flat out just to cover their costs, Islington’s economy chief Councillor Asima Shaikh intervened and abandoned the charges.

The new national lockdown has killed footfall again with only a few scattered stalls in Chapel Market. Traders say their income is down as much as 50 per cent on last year.

David Twydell, chairman of the Market Traders Association, wrote to the Town Hall a month ago calling for storage and pitch fees to be cut until the market is back to where it was before the first lockdown but he said he was met with silence until the Tribune stepped in.

Market Traders’ Association chairman David Twydell

He said: “For months and months you don’t hear anything, then a little word with the local media and it gets done. Thank you ever so much, it’s been a great help.”

Mr Twydell estimated that the cost of his stall and storage fees are about £550 a month.

The council has pledged to scrap these until June, saving Mr Twydell alone more than £3,000.

He said: “It’s a huge relief to the traders – life-saving. We can now give a service to the customers with a smile knowing we’re not going to be out of pocket at the end of the month.”

Keith West, who owns a fruit and veg stall in Seven Sisters Road, said: “This news has made my day. It’s tough out here at the moment, my take is down about 50 per cent. Fair play to the council.

“I think we’re providing an important service here to the Holloway community who prefer to come to us for their fruit and veg so it’s nice to have that recognised.”

As the Tribune previously reported, stallholders have been infuriated by the restrictions that have been placed on them as they watch people stream into nearby supermarkets.

Fruit and veg stallholder Keith West

Mr Twydell said: “People are all buying online or at the supermarkets now where you can pick up clothes and anything, there’s no reason to walk up the markets now. There’s only about four stalls out today and they’re all complaining about how bad it is. The supermarkets and online shops have been cashing in this year while we’re squeezed again.”

Food giant Sainsbury’s reported yesterday (Thursday) that it expected to have profits of more than £330million.

Cllr Shaikh said: “Market traders are vital to our local economy and, in these unprecedented times, we have worked hard to support them, including administering £460,000 to 92 traders in the last round of discretionary grant-aid from the Government.

“We have also made sure that market traders are eligible for further discretionary grants in the latest rounds of funding from Government, and have invited them to apply.

“In addition, as we did in the first lockdown last March, we have waived pitch and lock-up fees for those unable to trade. We are also proposing to waive fees for all other council-licensed traders given the cumulative pressure of another lockdown and the lack of footfall. We can also confirm that no additional fees or charges will be levied on traders until June.”

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