Ques­tion re­veals an­other 54 years on mar­ket lease

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - ABBY BOLTER abby.bolter@waleson­line.co.uk

BRID­GEND coun­cil is locked into a lease on the town’s mar­ket hall lasting an­other 54 years with no break clauses.

This in­for­ma­tion was ob­tained by Welsh Con­ser­va­tive Re­gional AM Suzy Davies from a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest, which also re­vealed that the coun­cil pays annual rent, ser­vices charges and in­sur­ance of £226,000 for the mar­ket, which is owned by a pri­vate prop­erty com­pany.

It re­ceived rent of £246,000 from stall­hold­ers in the last fi­nan­cial year.

Mrs Davies asked these ques­tions after meet­ing mar­ket traders anx­ious about the fu­ture of the mar­ket where 11 of the 29 stalls are now empty.

She asked the coun­cil what ac­tion was be­ing taken to let these stalls and was told they are all on the coun­cil’s web­site and some have mar­ket­ing boards on them al­though oth­ers do not. A state­ment said the coun­cil in­tends to in­struct a lo­cal let­ting agent “in due course”.

Mrs Davies said: “The coun­cil needs to pull its fin­ger out and start ac­tively pro­mot­ing Brid­gend mar­ket to get more ten­ants in. An ex­cit­ing mar­ket is a draw. Town traders as a whole are ex­plicit in their dis­con­tent with the coun­cil’s ap­proach to de­vel­op­ing town cen­tre re­tail, as we saw in the re­cent elec­tions.

“I re­cently vis­ited the mar­ket with Coun Kay Row­lands, who is regeneration spokesman for the Con­ser­va­tive group on the coun­cil. We were shocked at the num­ber of empty stalls we saw. There are whole aisles where there are no let stalls.

“It’s very dis­heart­en­ing for the other stall­hold­ers who are fight­ing hard to make a liv­ing.

“I have also asked how much sub­sidy the mar­ket re­ceives from coun­cil tax­pay­ers as the cost of its own em­ploy­ees like the mar­ket man­ager is not in­cluded in the ex­pen­di­ture listed.”

A Brid­gend coun­cil spokesman said: “A Mar­ket Part­ner­ship Strat­egy Group has been es­tab­lished, and the traders and coun­cil are work­ing to­gether to de­velop new and in­no­va­tive ways of at­tract­ing new stalls and sup­port­ing fresh busi­ness.

“As re­gards some of the sug­ges­tions that have been made, many of these have al­ready been set up, in­clud­ing the of­fer­ing of trial ten­an­cies with re­duced rates, stag­ing events within the mar­ket and us­ing stalls to pro­mote things like free sto­ry­telling ses­sions, the sum­mer read­ing chal­lenge or Hal­loween and Easter fes­tiv­i­ties.”

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