Council consults on making markets self-funding
Hackney Council has launched a consultation into the fees and charges for trading at its markets and shop fronts with the aim of making them self-funding by 2017.
The borough’s markets are currently subsidised out of general Council funding by more than £180,000 per year. A significant part of this is the cost of clearing up waste generated by trading activity at market sites.
Plans to introduce revised fees and charges to take effect from April 2016 have been sent out in a consultation document to all market traders and shop front licence holders. The consultation started this week and will be extended from eight to nine weeks to allow for the festive season. Traders, shoppers and members of the general public are all welcome to respond.
The proposed changes impact permanent and temporary traders in Ridley Road Market, Hoxton Street Market and at miscellaneous sites, such as Calvert Avenue, Clifton Street, Crown Place, Haggerston Station and Leonard Circus. New administrative and application costs are also recommended.
More than £550,000 is spent on cleaning, removing and disposing of market waste every year in Hackney. About £500,000 of this is attributed to Ridley Road Market alone. With the introduction of the revised fees and charges, Hackney’s markets are likely to achieve the borough’s goal of becoming a self-funding operation by 2016/17 with no further need for Council subsidy.
"We value our markets – the heritage, variety and the service they provide to our local communities and we support them as much as possible. However, we are currently charging some of the markets far less in fees and charges than the cost of maintaining, managing and cleaning them.
“It is important for our markets to be self-funding. The Council has already managed around £100 million in funding cuts from government and is now facing a further £60 million in cuts, and we cannot afford to continue subsidising our market traders, including shop front trading. We believe it is only fair to residents that operational costs of Hackney’s markets be covered by fees and charges so taxpayers’ money can be directed elsewhere. Any increase for traders will reflect what it currently costs the council to provide the markets service.
“There are ways Hackney’s market traders can help to keep costs down, for example by disposing of their waste correctly. This includes separating food waste from general waste and recycling which has a big impact on costs with waste accounting for 57% of all markets expenditure in 2014/15.
“We want to hear views on our proposals and encourage all market traders and shop front holders to have their say, as well as anyone else who wants to give their opinion. We will consider all feedback before we make our final decision.”
The council’s fees and charges were last reviewed in September 2014. It is hoped that the proposed increase in fees and charges will cover the full operational costs of Hackney’s markets from April 2016.
The consultation closes on Monday 15 February 2016. All representations will be considered and a formal decision to implement any revised fees will be made. The proposed fees and charges will then be finalised and traders will be notified through a statutory notice in Hackney Today, and provided 28 days’ notice from the publication date of the newspaper before any amendments to fees and charges take effect.