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Matthew Adams of Adams Antiques Fairs was concerned about providing his out-of-town dealers and overseas buyers with a clearer understanding of what the congestion charges entail. “People living in London are pretty much in the know, but it is those from out of town who are unsure.” Fortunately standholders at Adams Sunday Fairs at the Horticultural Hall in Victoria and Chelsea Town Hall, need not be concerned, the charges only apply Monday to Friday from 7am-6.30pm.

Michael Collins of Sherman & Waterman Associates Ltd., organisers of the weekly Monday Covent Garden Antique Market, said many of the dealers who stand at this event were very concerned about imminent congestion charges. “A lot of dealers are working on such tight margins that an extra £5 on top of parking costs will hurt,” he said.

Although many traders who stand at this early morning market will already be in the ‘zone’ by 7am, they will be charged if they move around or leave the area before 6.30pm. Current parking costs will also continue.

Joel Lewis, organiser of St James Antique Market, concurred: “The dealers are feeling very frustrated, it has been a difficult year for many of them.” All of the dealers who stand at this Tuesday market (currently around 25 in total) use their vehicles. Already many of them park at a local garage that charges £12 a day, and the fear is an extra £5 on top could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Although Camden Passage Antiques Market in Islington is not in the congestion zone, market representative Carol Murdock felt that the charge could be another reason to put people off visiting the area.

This market is on the border of the zone, because of this many more people may decide to drive to the area, park their cars and walk into central London. This increase in parked traffic will affect day-to-day business. Already the area offers no free parking. “This is a real problem for the shippers,” said Carol.

On a more positive note, dealers who must pay £5 per visit into London’s city centre can claim the cost as a business expense.

In the Evening Standard’s recently published booklet, The Definitive Guide to Congestion Charges, the Inland Revenue state that: “If the charge is incurred as part of normal expenditure to do your job, the charges will be tax deductible.”