If rents in Oxford's historic Covered Market are increased by up to 200 per cent, it would indeed be a severe blow to some of the shops.

But we get the feeling that the Market Tenants Association is being a little premature in stirring up such a fuss.

Every time the city council mentions the words "rent increase", the traders' reaction is invariably the same: "Some of us will be forced out of business."

Of course, market traders should be treated differently from the big chains which dominate our high streets.

They occupy a unique place in Oxford, and contribute much to the city's shopping experience.

But equally, the city council owes it to the council taxpayer to get as much revenue as it can from its assets.

The two sides need to get round the table, negotiate sensibly and compromise.

Certainly, they should avoid the costly and disruptive court action they engaged in last time round.

The council has to recognise how important the market is to Oxford.

But traders must also realise that they have to be prepared to pay their fair whack to the city coffers.