TRADERS have breathed a sigh of relief after Gosport Borough Council voted to reduce its market fees.
Councillors agreed to charge £1 per foot for traders signed-up to the market on Tuesdays in High Street.
As reported, traders last year threatened they could leave due to a clampdown on charges by the authority.
Butcher Dave Watson has had his van at the market for 32 years.
He told The News the move would help and praised environmental health officers at the council, which runs the market.
‘It’s great, I’ve been there 32 years, the longest trader serving there,’ he said.
‘Anything to improve it or give it a push is great.
‘Environmental health does listen and they do give us a chance to have a say on how the market’s run itself.’
Casual traders, those turning up on the day, will be charged £1.50 per foot.
There is a minimum charge of 15ft (4.6m).
Last year’s fees, which were the subject of a clampdown last December, were more expensive.
Before last Thursday, when the new fees came into force, it would have cost a signed-up trader with a 15ft frontage £22.50 to set up on a Tuesday – it now costs just £15.
And it comes as a new Tuesday market has been set up in nearby Locks Heath, meaning competition to woo shoppers and traders has increased.
Councillor Mark Hook is the leader of the council.
He said: ‘We went away and looked at what was feasible.
‘We believe by reducing it to £1 a foot for regular traders that we can encourage more market traders and hold the same amount of finances coming in.
‘But by doing that we’ll then have a bigger market.’
Charges for Saturday markets will remain the same as before, with a 10ft pitch for signed-up traders £27.50 or £35 for casual traders.
Cllr June Cully is a member of the Labour opposition group at the borough council and represents Town ward.
She said: ‘We’ve got to do our best to encourage trade into the town centre.
‘If with the reduced fee they feel it’s more attractive, as we’re competing with other markets now, then they’ll come to Gosport.
‘It’s always something that shoppers quite enjoy.’
Cllr Cully added she hopes shops in the town will try having a stall.