Extra month of free rent to support traders’ Covid-19 comeback

Traders who have not had to pay to use premises owned by Bridgend County Borough Council for the last three months are set to benefit from an extra month of free rent.

While the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has been in effect, the local authority has not charged small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for renting council premises such as stalls at Bridgend Indoor Market or Maesteg Outdoor Market, industrial starter units and more.

Now that businesses are starting to reopen and lockdown restrictions are being eased, the council has confirmed that it is to extend the rent-free period by another month.

Responding to the news, Gordon Woodbridge, Chair of Bridgend Market Traders Association, said: “This is excellent news – the council has extended the rent free period for another month, and the free parking is to continue for a further period.

“I cannot praise the council enough for the support they gave traders while we had to close down because of the virus. Now that we are back trading, it is still a difficult time and footfall is down by at least 40 per cent, but I would again like to thank the council for all of their support.”

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, added: “The rent-free period provided by the council effectively represents an additional business support package of more than £200,000.

“Whether it is through the free parking currently available at many car parks, the £28m that we have processed in financial support grants, the ongoing rent-free period or the free start-back training and equipment that we have provided, the council is continuing to do all that it can to support local traders and help them meet the challenges of the coronavirus.

“We will be considering additional transitional phases designed to help small and medium-sized businesses as the pandemic develops further, and are also continuing to work alongside a wide range of partners to provide expert advice and support which reflects the latest national guidance.”

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