Boost for market traders after rent waived
Traders on Witney Market are operating rent-free after West Oxfordshire District Council stepped in.
The Council recognised that those running stalls every Thursday and Saturday are struggling due to COVID-19 thanks to a decline in custom caused by the lockdown and rules on social distancing.
As a result, the Council, which manages the market, has agreed to waive rent for stall holders for a period of three months until the lockdown is lifted and trading can return to normal.
Darren Smith, who runs four units at the market selling fruit and vegetables, said: "This has made an immense difference. Market traders are experiencing a time of hardship at the moment and this decision has been warmly received by my colleagues.
“We will be here Thursday and Saturday to support the people of Witney in this difficult time".
Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “We recognise this is an extremely difficult time for traders on Witney Market and we salute their resilience in keeping the market open.
“Waiving the rent for three months seemed an obvious thing to do and hopefully it will help maintain a market presence every week until the crisis is over.”
Only market traders selling essential items such as food are being permitted to operate.
The traders have been visited by council officers and public health and social distancing advice has been given.