TRADERS in Carlisle’s Victorian Market Hall have raised serious concerns which 'could well spell the end of the market' if not addressed. 

Carlisle’s covered market is a collection of retail stalls including a jewellers and multiple food units. 

In a statement released by the Carlisle Market Traders Association, the group cites a range of grievances including financial strain, deteriorating premises, and 'non-existent' communication with the property management company responsible for the site, Ryden.

"We feel that our current concerns are not being addressed by a fragmented management, despite asking on several occasions, for clarification on a number of issues.

"Communication between ourselves and management is extremely poor or more often than not, is non-existent," they said. 

According to the association, traders have been informed without prior warning of a steep 50 per cent hike in their service charges. 

"Given that many of us are just managing to stay in business, this is a potential death knell and could well spell the end of the market.

"At no time have we had this in writing, nor have we had any communication from Ryden as to why this has been done.

"Neither have we had a breakdown of how this figure was arrived at. This is completely unacceptable," they said.

Further concerns have also been raised about the condition of the building itself, with reports of structural issues such as water leaking through the ceiling in 'at least' two of the units.

"We have in the architecture of the market hall, a fantastic building, situated in the middle of the city. It should be being marketed as an asset," they said. 

Highlighting the decline in foot traffic since the closure of Wilko's last year, traders have also called for the urgent need for measures to attract more customers.

They called for the Wilko’s doors to be permanently open, citing it as a public right of way that could help bolster footfall and support struggling businesses during a difficult time. 

"We remain committed to the market, and would kindly ask that Ryden contact us to discuss our concerns," they said.

In response, a spokesperson from Ryden said: "We are actively engaged in conversations with our clients, the owners of Carlisle Market Hall, at this moment.

"We are not in a position to comment further but we will continue to deal with occupier queries as required."