Council chiefs have agreed to slash the rent of traders at Tommyfield Market in half.
Oldham’s cabinet has approved plans to reduce the rent of units at the current market site on Henshaw Street by 50%, ahead of it relocating into a new build site within Spindles Shopping Centre.
A report to the meeting states that traders say they have been struggling since the Covid-19 pandemic, with stock being more difficult to source and expensive.
Footfall is also down by almost half, and customers have less money to spend, officers say.
Rent reductions of at least 10% have been offered to tenants since 2018, but the report states that vendors requested a further reduction to help them stay afloat at a meeting in March.
“Everybody knows that we have got quite significant and very, very ambitious plans for the town centre, particularly around the renovation of Spindles and what will be the new market at Spindles,” council leader Amanda Chadderton told the cabinet meeting.
“We also know the value that Oldhamers put on Tommyfield Market and the local attachment to that market as well.
“Our market traders have been absolutely hammered by Covid first off, people have not gone back to the office, people shopping has also changed as well.
“Then we combine that with the cost of living crisis and we need to ensure we offer practical support to our market traders. We want to ensure that come the end of 2024 when they do move over to Spindles they are in the best possible position.”
She said the 50% rent reduction would carry on until traders moved into Spindles Shopping Centre.
“What this does is put money back into their pockets,” Coun Chadderton added. “It’s beneficial to nobody to have a failing market or market traders that have to fall by the wayside because they can no longer afford the rent.
“So this is real tangible help we are offering our businesses in Oldham.”
The cabinet agreed to offer a new lease agreement to traders for the final period of trading in the old Tommyfield Market until the relocation into Spindles.
However the cost of cutting the rent in the market is not known as it was discussed in a restricted section of the meeting.