Struggling market traders have been given a boost after St Helens Council froze fees and charges.
Currently, occupancy in St Mary’s Market is significantly down, with traders feeling increasingly isolated.
St Helens Council said if fees and charges are raised occupancy levels may decline even further, which could be detrimental to the future of the market.
The council believe that keeping the rents at the same levels will sustain trader retention.
Therefore a decision has been taken by officers under delegated powers to maintain fees and charges for the 2019-20 at current rates subject to further review next April.
“The council current level of fees and charges are considered to be reflective of the market for this current financial year,” the delegated decision notice said.
“This is because of the following factors: occupancy is variable in a very challenging retail sector; retail spending in general continues to be under severe pressure and many market traders are accordingly feeling the financial pressure.
“Fee increases will only add to this and risk losing traders, which would be detrimental to the market and risk its future.
“Fees and charges are not low compared to other local markets and need to remain competitive.”
The council said fees and charges will be subject to further change if the planned re-location of St Mary’s Market goes ahead.
As previously reported, the council entered into talks with the owner of the former Marks and Spencer store in St Helens town centre, which has been vacant since March.
It is understood negotiations are still ongoing.
Council chiefs hope the move will provide stability to the town’s indoor market as well as help kick-start its stuttering town centre regeneration plans.
Labour sources said the new market should be ready by 2020, which would free up the area currently occupied by St Mary’s Market for redevelopment.