COUNCILLORS have called for a halt in rent hikes to save the livelihoods of market traders.
Mexborough Indoor Market traders have been told by Doncaster Council that they face a five-fold increases in September.
But Mexborough Labour councillors David Holland and Sue Phillips want mayor Peter Davies to have a rethink.
Coun Holland said: “Many of the traders simply can’t afford the increases. There is a danger the proposals could seriously threaten the future of the market which would be a disaster for the town.”
Coun Phillips said traders would be petitioning the council.
However, Mr Davies said that all Mexborough ward members were consulted and agreed the rent increase in December 2010.
He said: “The real problem is the complicated and costly arrangements by which we both own the land and rent the market hall.
“At present, market traders’ rents are not covering the money we are tied into paying to a property company. Last year the taxpayer had to make up around a £200,000 shortfall.
“This unfortunate situation is from a property deal dating back to the 1970s which was inherited by Doncaster Council from Mexborough Council.”
Mr Davies said while the market was a “valuable community asset” it also had to be a viable business. He added Doncaster Market rents increased in 2009 and had since benefitted from investment.
Mr Davies also said he was open to suggestions from councillors on how to plug the funding shortfall.