Concerns stallholders are being priced out of Kenilworth's weekly market

By James Smith

3rd Apr 2024 | Local News

The cost of a stall at Kenilworth's weekly market was increased last year (image by James Smith)
The cost of a stall at Kenilworth's weekly market was increased last year (image by James Smith)

Stallholders may be priced out of attending Kenilworth's weekly market, according to a Warwick District Council (WDC) report.

The local authority agreed to put up charges for local businesses using the markets at the end of 2023, with the new costs coming into effect on January 1.

But WDC's market operator, CJ's Events Warwickshire, has since raised concerns that increased charges are making the weekly markets unaffordable for some vendors to attend.

The council report also said dwindling numbers at the regular markets is having a knock on impact on stallholders.

"The council's markets contractor, CJ's Events, has raised concerns relating to the increase in fees that was agreed at that time in relation to markets," the report said. 

"There is evidence that in some instances, there has been a decline in footfall at some of the markets and CJ's Events considers that traders would struggle to absorb the proposed increases. 

"In particular, the Kenilworth market is currently experiencing challenges, with low footfall in the market location, and this is impacting on support for the market."

WDC's cabinet is due to discuss the report next week, and may decide to lower some of the charges.

At the end of last year the council agreed to raise the cost of a single stall from £33 per week at Kenilworth Market, to £35.

However, CJ's has suggested the price be put back down to the original amount.

The market operator has also suggested the costs of some of the autumn and Christmas markets be put up instead, to swallow the change in costs.

Proposed changes to stall charges at local markets (image via WDC)

"CJ's Events has proposed a fee increase which would still enable these markets to be competitive alongside other similar markets such as in Stratford-upon-Avon," the report explained.

"They are considered to be realistic in terms of being affordable to traders and therefore able to support our local markets whilst still maximizing council income from these."

The report added: "The autumn and Christmas markets are the largest and most profitable markets across the range that take place in the district.

"It is estimated that the higher fee increases for these seasonal markets will more than offset the potential reduction in income from the remaining markets. 

"There will therefore be no estimated reduction in income if these fees are applied, and indeed evidence is that there will be a small increase in overall fees." 

WDC also said ensuring market traders can still afford to attend the markets will ensure the weekly events will survive, therefore protecting the council's long-term revenue.

The report comes just weeks after Kenilworth Town Council committed to help boost footfall at the town's Thursday market in Abbey End.

WDC's cabinet will discuss the proposals on Wednesday 10 April.

See the full report here.

     

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