The future of of a popular indoor market in Wiltshire has been secured after a compromise over rent increases was reached to “keep the building open".

Rising electricity costs for The Shambles in Devizes town centre - with the annual bill reportedly increasing from £11,000 to £34,000 - created debate over how the difference would be funded.

Devizes town councillors agreed at a January meeting that the “increase in costs needs to be borne by those who make their living from the building rather than the council tax payer”, sparking proposals to up the rates by as much as 50 per cent.

Since receiving letters detailing the new rents in March, traders at the historic indoor market have been in talks with the council to reach a compromise, with many unhappy with the sharp increase.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Shambles on market day.The Shambles on market day. (Image: Newsquest)

On Tuesday, March 28, a deal was struck that will see rents rise from £15 to £25 on a Saturday, significantly less than the original suggestion and still less than the pre-pandemic rates of £32.50.

Meanwhile Thursday market day rates, which had been due to jump by £13, have only gone up by £2.50.

Markus Taylour, who trades in the market every day, was pleased an agreement had been reached that wouldn’t damage the future of the market.

He said: “It’s all settled now, and I think 90 per cent of the daily traders are happy.

“We’ve had plenty of arguments with the town council but they did listen and I think they’ve realised that they have to listen to us or there isn’t going to be a market here.

“We had seven or eight traders ready to walk, which you can understand, I would’ve pulled out if they’d stuck to the rents, but they’ve had three meetings with us and I’m happy with the rents now.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The outside of Devizes market.The outside of Devizes market. (Image: Newsquest)

Fellow stallholder Sue Whibley added: “We wanted to get it sorted out because we knew the majority of our traders were not going to stay if those prices were set.

“They (the town council) have taken it on board and listened and they’ve done the sensible thing… we were thankful for that.”

Market manager Luke James is hopeful the compromise will secure the future of the indoor market in tough financial times.

“We had a meeting with traders and have agreed a price that will keep the building open”, he said.

“Over the years the council have taken a hit on the electric and now the price of electric has gone up traders will have to help with the cost to help us keep the building open.”