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Charges win for Blackburn Market traders
BLACKBURN Market traders have won a partial victory over backdated rises in council service charges after threatening revolt.
The council has reduced the new fees and halved the amount it will charge stallholders in a retrospective increase for last year.
It has also given them four months to pay from March 1 instead of the orginal plan to collect the arrears in one lump sum last month.
In December, Blackburn with Darwen property boss Dave Harling told traders of the increase and the backdating which threatened to land stallholders with bills for hundreds of pounds for 2012.
After a storm of protest, he looked again and this week they got revised charges.
Under the original plan the annual cost for food and non-food stalls would have risen from £17 to £19.90 per square foot. Cafes and catering stalls would have seen an increase from £19.50 to £21.90 per square foot. Most stalls had been paying a lower estimated cost monthly on top of rents ranging from £500 a month to £2,000-plus.
The new charges have been reduced to £19.14 and £21.14 per square foot. The backdating for last year, which could have landed stalls will bills of £600 plus, has been halved.
However two traders were still not happy.
Daniel Moffett, of Butlers Family Restaurant, said: “It’s better than it was but still not good enough.”
Malcolm Marsden, of Whitaker’s Butchers, said: “It’s an improvement but still not right. We will continue to fight this.”
Coun Harling said: "We have recently looked at the actual costs for all the service charges for 2012. I am meeting with traders tomorrow evening to discuss this further.”
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