Thursday 23 May 2024
12.7 C
Nottingham

Nottingham market traders spend thousands on legal fees waiting for council decision on future

Traders at the Victoria Centre Market say they are now thousands of pounds out of pocket as they await a final decision on their future.

Nottingham City Council said it may bring an end to the market’s lease in a bid to save £39m over 50 years.

But a final decision has still not been made more than 18 months after the plan was first made public.

Nick Clark, of Cobblers and Keys, says he was initially given a date for the early surrender of his lease on February 28.

A compensation package was offered and Mr Clark had almost secured a new lease in Victoria Centre itself, before being informed the early lease surrender was no longer being processed.

- Advertisement -

As such, the market will now remain open and operational until at least the end of April.

“I’ve spent £3,500 on solicitor fees for the early surrender, which the council said would pay for,” he said.

“Then there’s £2,000 to £3,000 for the solicitor for the new lease, which the council is not paying for.

“It will cost me around £1,500 to move equipment as I’ll need a specialist removal team.

“I’ve been offered compensation so I don’t want to leave before then. There have already been two stores which have been emptied and the owners sold all their stock, but now they are being charged rent for March even though they surrendered in February.

“I need to know the cost and if we are staying or going. We’ve not had one councillor come in.”

John Easom, of Goldbank Jewellers, added: “The solicitor bill for vacant possession is £3,500 which the council walked away from.

“My shopfitting quotes and surveys done on other potential premises and legal advice on the council’s position is another £4,000, not to mention lost trade.

“Thankfully I have a strong business model that is doing well but others are struggling.”

A spokesperson for the Victoria Centre confirmed the council was fully-responsible for the market’s future, and following the outcome of a public consultation an agreement had been reached for an early surrender of the lease.

Plans were then put in place to support and offer certainty to remaining stall holders, the centre said in a statement.

The spokesperson said: “We have recently been informed by the council that the early lease surrender cannot be progressed at this time, meaning that the market will remain open and will continue to trade at least until the end of April.

“We recognise that the council’s decision places stallholders in a challenging and uncertain position and are fully sympathetic to that.

“We are hoping to continue an open dialogue with Nottingham City Council and have asked them to clarify their long-term position regarding the continued operation of the market and the financial investment that it requires from them.”

The market opened in the shopping centre in 1972 and was once home to more than 200 stalls, but now only around 30 traders remain.

The council said it had been running the market at an annual trading loss since 2014, and had been forced to subsidise it at a cost of more than £1.5m.

Leader of the Nottingham Labour group Cllr David Mellen said: “I know it is difficult, particularly for the traders at the moment.

“The situation with the Victoria Market is that the council has been subsidising it for some years since the rent was put significantly up.

“The centre is owned by Global Mutual and we are in negotiations with them over possible change or release from our lease.

“Some of the traders in particular are concerned about the uncertainty and we will try to balance the need to give them some certainty. Some of them have served and traded in that market for many years.”

Asked if any councillors were planning to visit traders at the market, he added: “That request has been made and we are looking at that. It has not been arranged as yet.”

•  Iconic Nottinghamshire centre could be demolished to make way for Lidl

•  ‘Brutal attack’ in Old Market Square Nottingham leaves 20-year-old woman with bleed on the brain

Follow The Wire on TikTok, Facebook, X, Instagram. Send your story to newsdesk@westbridgfordwire.com or via WhatsApp on 0115 772 0418

Categories:
 

Latest