People in South Tyneside have hit out at council bosses over plans to increase pitch prices at South Shields market.
The Gazette revealed last week that the rates would go up from the current £15 a day in 2017.
Should be putting the rents down. The market is already half the size it used to be years ago and probably only 25% as busySteve Smigs Smith
The pitch prices could rise to as much as £26.50.
Market trading in the town stretches back over 200 years, and people commenting on the Gazette’s Facebook page have expressed their fears that the council’s move could seriously affect its future.
Mark Beadle posted: “Shields is dead. It’s just a case of how long the stubborn people want to hold on for.
“Before long the whole town will just be big group of housing estates.”
Steve Smigs Smith added: “Should be putting the rents down. The market is already half the size it used to be years ago and probably only 25% as busy.
“The video of Shields in the 80s proves that. The market was great back then.”
Yvonne Anderson said: “‘They have invested significantly in the marketplace’.... They have ruined it. It looks a mess.”
Margaret Jobes posted: “That canopy is a joke and an eyesore. It offers no protection from the weather.
“Keep the fees as they are to give stall holders a chance.”
Neil Barry added: “Absolutely no point moaning about the council if year after year you keep voting them back in.”
Christina Carr said: “They’re wrecking our once lovely town. Greed.”
However, Derek Edmond criticised the items the market – which operates on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays – has to offer.
He posted: “Can’t remember the last time I bought (anything) from the market, South Shields is finished now.”
Last week, a South Tyneside Council spokesman insisted the market remained key to South Shields’ future as an attraction for visitors.
The spokesman said: “The market is a key civic asset and is an essential component of the South Shields visitor offer and the 365 vision for the town centre.
“The rates were originally dropped from a proposed £26.50 to £15 in 2012 to help support the market traders.
“Since then we have invested significantly in the Market Place with new public realm and the canopy and the Word building.
“Following completion of these improvements to the Market Place earlier in the year, in consultation with the traders, stall prices will be reviewed in the new year.
“The price will not increase beyond the 2012 level.
“This price increase is in order to secure the future of South Shields’ long-standing market, which is a staple of South Tyneside and attracts visitors from all over the North East.”