Market traders have been hit with a hike in rent after receiving a new contract last week.

The Watford New Market ‘tucked away’ in the corner of High Street is currently undergoing a new contract and licence change from the council.

This would see many traders pay around £1,200 a month in rents among other costs based on the size of their shops.

Traders have been criticising the council over whom they claim is neglecting of the market with little to no investment while they ask for more in rent.

Another criticism has been levelled at the restrictions placed on the shops which open and close at 9.30 to 5.30pm, depriving many traders of evening business – This is amidst a shortage of footfall which some are putting down to a lack of advertisement.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor has said the council have been listening to the feedback from the traders and the new contract is bringing the market into line with other markets elsewhere.

He said: “These charges are also in line with other similar markets and are based on the size of their unit or stall, which is fair and clear for everyone.

“We have met with Watford Market traders and have listened to their feedback on what needs to be improved.”

He added: “Over the last few months we have invested in repairing the roof, installing new toilets, tidying up the front and are now looking to upgrade the lighting system.

“We will be working with traders and the market operators on more improvements in the future.

“I am committed to making sure that we have a successful and vibrant market in our town.

“I am determined to increase the appeal of the market to residents and traders alike.

“We have received enquiries from over 40 businesses who have expressed an interest to trade at the market, which is a positive sign for the future success of the market.”

The market came under new management last August when last managers at the Town & Country Markets (TCM) were in “severe financial difficulties”.

The council took over management and later handed it over to Market Assets Management (MAM) – however, financial decisions are still made by the council.

The Watford Observer spoke to people passing the market entrance.

Theresa and Richard Turner said: “I have never been there since it changed, I used to work there as a teenager at a greengrocery, and we now work on the high street, but it’s not inviting, I feel a little bit ignorant of the market, but these stalls out here detract from what's inside.

“It doesn’t look right. It looks just like an alley.”

Keith Leyden, a student at West Herts College, said: “I like the fact that its cosy but too many times have I been there, and it's not busy.

"If it were to go it would be a real shame because it’s part of the culture of Watford.”

Hasmita has recently come to Watford to work; she didn't know about the market until she saw it advertised when she was leaving Watford.

She said: "I'm new here, but I didn't notice there was a market.

"I've always known they have the shopping centre, but there isn't any real advertising for the market the only time I found out was when I was on Beechen Grove leaving."