Traders have warned that proposals to attract new blood to Ripon’s market could be the ‘final push’ which will force current stall holders out of business.
Harrogate Borough Council circulated a letter containing a list of potential changes to traders in both Ripon and Knaresborough on November 29. It followed a review of the markets in both towns earlier this year to help address a decline in the number of stall holders.
Comments can be submitted until December 31 on the changes, including the potential end to stalls being provided by the council.
Generations of the Murphy family have traded in Ripon market, but for Brian Murphy the changes could mean he is the last.
Mr Murphy said: “I am a green grocer and my family has been here for at least 100 years. These changes could mean I will be the first who cannot continue. I will have to get a new van that can carry a stall under the weight limit and find somewhere to store it in the centre of the city.”
He added: “I just do not see how any of this will help people here or even attract new traders. We are all single man bands, getting here to set up the stalls will be difficult and take up a lot of time. Looking at it overall I cannot see where we could find a middle ground, I think that this will be the final push which finishes off a lot of us traders. I was born here and my family has been here for a long time, I do not want to have to leave.”
Traders have flagged their frustration over the lack of time to respond to the council proposals, with Christmas also being one of their busiest periods that they will have to organise across.
A petition circulated between traders in both towns has been signed by almost 60 traders who are calling on the council to give them more time to challenge the proposals.
However HBC have pointed out that the number traders in Ripon have dropped by 21 per cent since 2015. They aim to address this by allowing traders to use their own stalls, while reducing the cost of running a stall.
Since contacting traders the council have stated they will also provide discounted rates during winter and summer, at 31.48 per cent and 14.35 respectively, while new traders will have a first week discount of 50 per cent.
For the first time a promotions budget will also be established, helping to advertise the markets.