Harrogate council faces renewed calls for rethink on 'impossible' market rules for Knaresborough and Ripon traders

Councillors in Knaresborough have renewed calls for borough bosses to rethink their decision to increase fees for traders at the town's historic market.

By Jacob Webster
Thursday, 10th September 2020, 9:46 am
Updated Thursday, 10th September 2020, 9:50 am

New rules which mean traders in Knaresborough and Ripon are told to either set up their own stalls or pay more money were introduced by Harrogate Borough Council in August.

The move was met with fierce opposition from stallholders who launched a petition with warnings that the future of the markets are being put at risk.

Councillors in Knaresborough have now backed the traders' calls by making more demands that the council U-turn on their decision and rule out any additional charges.

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Harrogate council said the markets are not under threat, adding: "In fact we have traders queuing to come."

Councillor Andrew Willoughby said asking traders to bring and set up their own stalls is making trading "impossible" for some and will mean more cancelled markets.

Councillor Hannah Gostlow added: "Knaresborough would not be the same without the market and the traders need a few years of stability now. I am asking for a open and honest approach from Harrogate Borough Council going forward, to stop any more surprises."

The borough council said some traders may actually pay less rent under the rules, as they are being offered a £5 weekly reduction if they erect their own stalls.

It also said it supported traders during lockdown by putting the new fees on hold.

Councillor Andrew Paraskos, cabinet member for environment, waste reduction and recycling, said: “It currently costs us £15 each time we need to assemble a stall on behalf of a trader and given the number of stalls at both weekly markets, it ends up costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds per year.

“To avoid these costs we have offered traders, who aren’t doing so already, the opportunity to erect their own stalls and receive an additional discount on their rent. Those who wish to continue using the council-erected stalls can do so at and still benefit from a heavily subsidised rate.

“We recognise that our vibrant and popular historic markets in both Knaresborough and Ripon are an important and integral part of our district and we have no plans whatsoever to remove them.

"In fact we have traders queuing to come to our markets.”

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter