The council say that this is an effort to revitalise the market and spend money in the right way, with an emphasis on the content of the market and promoting it.
Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said:
Our market stall charges are well above average for our region. At the same time our markets are in decline.
One only has to walk up the High Street in Northallerton on a Saturday to see what a vibrant market looks like.
The reason our markets are not thriving is twofold. Firstly, we are running our markets in the same way that we have done for decades. Markets elsewhere have changed how they operate giving traders the freedom to use their own stalls so that they can exhibit and sell their goods in the way they want. This level of freedom attracts more and more traders.
Secondly our prices are way above the regional average. Why should a trader come to our markets when they are allowed so little latitude to show off their wares and forced to pay so much more for the privilege.
So today I can announce that we are reducing our fees to below the regional average for markets.
I know some of those who like the way we currently set up the stalls will not want to change.
But the important thing here is to reverse the decline in markets, get new traders in and drop the prices so that the markets grow again. This will in turn attract more people to our commercial centres boosting trade for all retailers.