THE number of market stalls in Gosport High Street has dropped after an initial boost at the start of the year.
The first market of the year saw 28 traders turn up on Saturday, January 5 but attendance has since dropped down to as low as 13 stalls on Tuesday markets.
Now traders are calling for Gosport Borough Council, whose environmental health department runs the market, to lower the fees to a pound per foot.
As previously reported in The News, a number of traders had warned they would not return to the market after council officers re-measured stalls to ensure fees were being paid fairly.
Traders are charged a fee according to how wide their stall frontage is.
After the clampdown, some traders were better off, while some were charged more.
Andy Mellors runs a sweet stall but has now had to let his employee go, partly due to the slump in business this month.
He wants the council to charge a pound per foot to attract more businesses to the High Street.
He said: ‘I’ve downsized, I’ve taken 20ft off from last month.
‘Trade is bad anyway – you have to take January out of the equation, you know you’re not going to take any money, you have to downsize.
‘We’re hoping they’re going to do something about Tuesday.
‘It’s not massive for me but they need to do something to get new stalls.’
Bhupinder Singh runs a phone repair and accessories stall at the market and said he has stayed this month, despite business being difficult, in case someone takes his place.
He said: ‘This month there have been fewer customers as the weather had been bad.
‘More stalls should come as customers come and find nothing to buy and go somewhere else.’
Ian Rickman, head of environmental health at Gosport council said he was assessing the viability of charging a reduced fee on Tuesday market days.