Wednesday 17 July 2024
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Anger mounts as negotiations over future of Victoria Centre Market ‘fall through’

Victoria Centre Market traders say they have been left with more unanswered questions after being informed negotiations over the market’s future had fallen through.

It will now remain open for at least a few months while work on a resolution continues.

Three senior officers from Nottingham City Council faced a wave of questions and emotion during an hour-long meeting at the market on Thursday evening (June 15).

It is the first group meeting since the authority announced it was minded to terminate its lease on the market early due to unsustainable costs.

To do this the council had to negotiate an agreement with asset managers Global Mutual (GM), which took over from intu following its collapse in 2020, as well as with traders over compensation.

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However, after months of waiting, traders have informed these negotiations had fallen through and the market would remain open for now.

There were audible gasps of shock and confusion as officers went on to announce plans to begin welcoming new traders into the market in the meantime.

Senior officer Ita O’Donovan said: “We have had to review the overall situation and we have met with GM, and they have confirmed the agreement with them has fallen, we have no agreement at the moment with GM.

“That’s because we did not have vacant possession on March 31.

“I know there is a lot of emotion around this issue and I have heard about those emotions.

“We are confirming there is likely to be no change for the next few months, we will accept new traders into the market on short-term licence arrangements.

“We will work with traders and reps to promote and advertise the market.

“We simply cannot confirm a time-line for the overall resolution.”

The council says it has been subsidising the market after former shopping centre owner intu put the rent up in 2014.

A condition survey has been undertaken on the market, and bringing it up to scratch would cost in the region of £2m.

The council has also explored the potential for an investment scheme, which would cost in the region of £10m.

After the update, traders and market representatives said they felt patronised and had been left with more questions.

Joe Harrison, the chief executive of the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF), who attended the meeting, said he had “never known anything like it before”.

He said traders had “incurred considerable costs” and had been told they would be met by the council.

Responding council officers said traders who believe they have incurred legitimate costs as a result of the process can submit full details to the authority for “full consideration”.

John Easom, who runs Goldbank Jewellers, said the council had demonstrated its “inability to run anything”.

“Now, after 18 months, the only thing we have is they are saying they are letting new traders back into the market once again,” he said.

“Yet they still aim to hand back the lease at some point?”

In a statement council leader Cllr David Mellen said: “We know that traders are disappointed about the process that has led to the current position.

“We have apologised to them for the unavoidably protracted nature of these complex negotiations and their impact on them.

“We will need to assess the implications of this outcome for the council and have committed to work with traders on next steps.”

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