‘Can the last councillor out please turn on our lights?’

Traders at The Market Vaults bemoaning the new lighting there. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn123510a 28/08/12
Traders at The Market Vaults bemoaning the new lighting there. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn123510a 28/08/12

Traders in Scarborough have been plunged into darkness after the council installed ‘economy’ lighting in The Market Vaults.

Irate stall-holders at the historic market believe the installation is the latest “kick-in-the-teeth” to independent traders there, who have already recorded drops in business of up to 50 per cent this year.

Collectively, they have now penned a letter to the Chief Executive of Scarborough Council, Jim Dillon, voicing their concern over the “decaying ambience” of the vaults.

The lights were only installed last Friday. However, the change has already had a detrimental affect on conditions at the market.

The list of problems include:

•Artists and photographers having to bring in their own temporary lighting to do their work

•Cafe customers unable to read newspapers

•Traders unable to see the main concourse

•”Dingy”, “oppressive” and “depressive” lighting hampering footfall

One stall worker has even complained that the new lighting has made them feel “nauseous”.

Peter Salvage is one of the stall holders in the market.

He claims that the “grey” lighting is keeping custom away from the market.

A senior council official has told The Scarborough News that the authority is taking these complaints “seriously”, and is looking at ways to rectify the problems.

But Mr Salvage says the thing that has annoyed sellers the most is that the lights were changed without any consultation between themselves and Scarborough Council, and he believes they were legally obliged to do as their landlords.

However, Mr Salvage says that at a time where the council is trying to work with the traders to improve business at the vaults, this is a “devastatingly retrospective step”.

He added: “People have said to us that the lighting is dingy, oppressive and depressive - and that’s just the public.”

Mr Salvage said the Market Superintendent is now working with traders to try and develop links with the council website - however he claims traders have been told they will have to pay several hundred pounds to advertise on the council website.

He claims that in a bid to increase business at the vaults, they are also attempting to get the authority to refurbish the signage, and to make people more aware of the building.

Traders have even offered to use their various skill sets to help clean up and decorate the area, on the basis that the council supply the tools and equipment needed.

Martin Pedley, Scarborough Council’s Asset and Risk Manager said: “The changes to the lighting in the market vaults have been part of a planned upgrade to use more energy efficient lighting in council owned premises and are part of our commitment to continue investing in the market hall and vaults.

“We are aware however that the new lighting is causing some issues for traders and their customers and we apologise for the inconvenience this is causing. We are taking the complaints seriously and we are looking to resolve the issues as soon as we can.”