Lammas Market traders call on Fife Council to reduce pitch rental costs

St Andrews;'Lammas Market'photo; WALTER NEILSON
St Andrews;'Lammas Market'photo; WALTER NEILSON

The showmen and traders who make up the Lammas Market are hoping Fife Council can secure the event’s future by reducing the rents they charge for a pitch.

There were healthy crowds at this year’s event, but stallholders have reported reduced takings on top of ongoing problems such as high fuel costs.

This week there were calls for Fife Council to help out by reducing the rent showmen and traders are charged and to relax restrictions on what stalls can be set up.

One showman told the Citizen that councils in some parts of England had reduced their rents to help out during the recession.

And it was also claimed that restrictions on the number of outlets selling hot food was also reducing their takings.

Albert Noble, who has run stalls at the Lammas for more than 25 years, is now worried for the future of the event.

He explained: “I don’t know if I can come back next year and there are a lot of other people worried as well.

“The rent I am being charged is almost £900 for two pitches whereas, at one fair down south recently, the local council reduced the rent.

“We wanted to sell hot food here but we’re not allowed. There was a restriction on the number of food vans the council allowed, but it’s now under that limit and nobody else is being allowed to open up.’’ 3212314

Mr Noble continued: “Like everyone else, the members of the public who come here just don’t have the money to spend as they did a few years ago.

“The recession is hitting everyone hard.

“We hadn’t broken even going into the last day of Lammas on Tuesday, when it was a case of fingers crossed.

“I love coming to St Andrews, always have done, but we can’t come here and lose money.”

Another trader who ran stalls at the end of Market Street near Church Street told the Citizen he was also struggling to break even from the event.

“It’s been very poor for us this year and we’re losing money,” he explained.

“The cash just isn’t around these days, people don’t have it. What we really need is for the rent to be reduced.

“It is the rent that is the problem,as it’s just too expensive.”

Keith Jackson, Fife Council’s Parks and Community Events Officer, said: “No decision has been made on next year’s rents but it is something we will be discussing in the next few months.”