Festive fury over market rent blow

Preston's Indoor Market
Preston's Indoor Market

Stallholders planning to quit Preston’s indoor market after the Christmas rush claim they are facing rent demands for January – even though they won’t be trading there.

While many of the existing businesses will be moving across to the city’s new market hall on February 12, around a dozen have decided to call it a day once the festive season is over.

But one trader who is leaving revealed: “We’ve been told the council wants two months rent from us up front – December and January – yet we won’t be there in January.

“What a terrific Christmas present to get from the council. We’ve been in there donkeys years and this is how they thank us for being such good tenants. It’s a right kick in the teeth.”

Preston Council is spending more than £3m on a new market hall. It should have been open in early December, but the date was put back two months after talks with stallholders.

Norman Young, whose family run the Banana King stall and were original tenants when the market opened in 1973, said: “Leases run out on December 2 and the council has told tenants they will have to pay two months up front instead of paying month by month. That means those who are retiring or moving elsewhere will have to pay a month’s rent for nothing. And it’s non-refundable.

“One tenant pays £1,900 a month rent, so that £3,800 up front at the beginning of December. And she won’t ge going into the new market.”

Adrian Phillips, the council’s director of environment said: “We are in the process of dealing with leases for the new market and current market hall.

“The situation is complex and we are unable to discuss leases for reasons of confidentiality.”