MARKET Trader Dave Dunn who was angry that Devizes Town Council refused to reduce rents during the coronavirus emergency has now given up his lease.

Mr Dunn, who ran The Vintage Tool in the Shambles indoor market did not think the council’s offer of a rent holiday went far enough as the money still had to be repaid.

He said: “I was not after free rent just a fair rent as unit was only storage but they would not compromise.”

He said some others who rent one of 13 permanent stalls at the far end of the Shambles were also leaving for a variety of reasons including a couple who run a book stall and a Jamaican food outlet.

But town clerk Simon Fisher said the council had acted fairly and within guidelines laid down by Government.

He said that the cafe owner had given up his lease because of ill-health but a new person was ready to take over when the Shambles opens on June 15.

Paul and Sue Rolfe have also given up the books shop but he said this had happened before the coronvavirus lockdown.

Sujays Jerk Pan Chicken will also not be returning. The owner said: “I was worried that I would not be able to operate the sit down area that I wanted to and I also have a kitchen unit in Tetbury and couldn’t afford both.”

Mr Dunn wrote to town centre manager Mark Hill on May 5 on behalf of a number of traders calling for a meeting to discuss the rents. He wrote: “We simply cannot afford to pay rent on closed units with no income coming in from customers. We would like to do everything we can to continue running our businesses rather than walking away from the market, which serves the community well.”

Mr Fisher said: “We are talking to a number of potential new traders who have shown a lot of interest.

“We know this is a difficult time for everyone but Government grants were available.”