Rent at Leighton Buzzard Market to be reintroduced for permanent traders in April as lockdown is eased

Leighton-Linslade Town Council has approved plans to start charging permanent ‘essential’ traders rent again in April now that lockdown restrictions are easing.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 10:39 am
The market returned to the High Street in June 2020

Despite some permanent stallholders saying they haven’t been given enough time to re-establish their businesses, councillors have brought an end to their rent waivers which have been in place since March 2020 when the first Covid-19 restrictions came into place.

Meanwhile, non-essential permanent traders will have their rent waived for 12 weeks from their return [set to be from April 12].

A spokesperson for Leighton-Linslade Town Council said: “Permanent [essential] traders are having rent charged from April 12. They have benefited from the fact that the guidelines have allowed them to continue trading when the market was open [for essential traders] during lockdown.

“To support non-essential traders, at its meeting held February 22, the Policy and Finance Committee resolved to waive their rent [for 12 weeks from their return] given the fact that non-essential traders have been unable to work for many weeks because of lockdown restrictions on non-essential goods.

“Casual traders who have been able to support the market during lockdown will be given priority in terms of filling casual pitches. They will be given priority to fill those casual trader plots that are made available by the market manager when planning the next market. We will endeavour to meet all if not as many requests from traders for pitches as possible.

“The town council wants to be fair to all traders and the above is seen as a way of doing this.”

But, Karen Young, a permanent trader disagrees and says until lockdown restrictions are fully unlocked businesses are still going to suffer.

The flower and plant retailer said: “The town council clearly isn’t going to change its mind, but it could have considered a gradual increase not the full amount straight away. They could have waited until Boris’s announcement and treated permanent traders like the shops on the High Street.”

Non-essential trader, David Gibbins, who sells greeting cards on the market, said: “It is my view that the town council have been very fair in supporting non-essential traders. They have let us trade when possible and I am grateful.”