Friday 19 July 2024
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Nottingham

Victoria Centre Market decision expected at end of May

A long-awaited decision on the future of the Victoria Centre Market is now expected to be made by the end of May, Nottingham City Council’s leader says.

Over a year and a half ago, the Labour-run council said it was planning to bring an end to the market’s lease in a bid to save £39m over 50 years.

Talks have been taking place with traders and the centre’s asset managers, Global Mutual, but a final decision is yet to be made.

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Traders have complained about a lack of transparency and communication from the council, and it was understood the authority’s officers had been weighing up the costs of ending the lease and providing compensation, compared with keeping the market open.

In an update on May 11, Cllr David Mellen (Lab), the leader of the council said:

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“There is movement but we cannot really discuss it because it is commercial negotiations with both the traders and with the [asset managers] of the centre.

“We want to resolve it as soon as we can. We have put a date of the end of May as an effort to try and do that.

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“It is frustrating for the traders, I know because they want to have some certainty but I have pledged to safeguard the money and so therefore we need to see the whole picture before we agree with what is happening with the market.”

Traders however continue to say they feel the market has been driven into decline over a series of years, and say the treatment they have received from the council has been lacking in “empathy”.

Nick Clark, who owns Cobblers and Keys, said traders had a meeting with the council leader towards the end of April.

The meeting came after a compensation package was initially offered to traders such as Mr Clark before they were informed the planned early lease surrender set for February was no longer being processed.

He says the uncertainty has cost him thousands of pounds in fees for solicitors so far.

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© westbridgfordwire.com

A spokesman for the Victoria Centre confirmed they had been informed by the council that the early lease surrender “cannot be progressed at this time”, meaning that the market remained open and continued to trade after February.

Mr Clark said: “What about all the costs? There has been no empathy. They do not listen to anyone.”

The market opened in the shopping centre in 1972 and was once home to more than 200 stalls.

Now roughly 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.

Cllr Mellen added: “It has been a long time but in some ways the declining numbers of market traders and people using the market has meant that is perhaps even longer than that.

“We want to treat traders right, we want to make sure that the money we have to pay into the [asset managers] of the centre, should we have to pay for it, is reasonable and a good use of public money.”

A long-awaited decision on the future of the Victoria Centre Market is now expected to be made by the end of May, Nottingham City Council’s leader says.

Over a year and a half ago, the Labour-run council said it was planning to bring an end to the market’s lease in a bid to save £39m over 50 years.

Talks have been taking place with traders and the centre’s asset managers, Global Mutual, but a final decision is yet to be made.

Traders have complained at a lack of transparency and communication from the council, and it was understood the authority’s officers had been weighing up the costs of ending the lease and providing compensation, compared with keeping the market open.

In an update on May 11, Cllr David Mellen (Lab), the leader of the council said:

“There is movement but we cannot really discuss it because it is commercial negotiations with both the traders and with the [asset managers] of the centre.

“We want to resolve it as soon as we can. We have put a date of the end of May as an effort to try and do that.

“It is frustrating for the traders, I know, because they want to have some certainty but I have pledged to safeguard the money and so therefore we need to see the whole picture before we agree with what is happening with the market.”

Traders however continue to say they feel the market has been driven into decline over a series of years, and say the treatment they have received from the council has been lacking in “empathy”.

Nick Clark, who owns Cobblers and Keys, said traders had a meeting with the council leader towards the end of April.

The meeting came after a compensation package was initially offered to traders such as Mr Clark, before they were informed the planned early lease surrender set for February was no longer being processed.

He says the uncertainty has cost him thousands of pounds in fees for solicitors so far.

A spokesman for the Victoria Centre confirmed they had  been informed by the council that the early lease surrender “cannot be progressed at this time”, meaning that the market remained open and continued to trade after February.

Mr Clark said: “What about all the costs? There has been no empathy. They do not listen to anyone.”

The market opened in the shopping centre in 1972 and was once home to more than 200 stalls.

Now roughly 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.

Cllr Mellen added: “It has been a long time but in some ways the declining numbers of market traders and people using the market has meant that is perhaps even longer than that.

“We want to treat traders right, we want to make sure that the money we have to pay into the [asset managers] of the centre, should we have to pay for it, is reasonable and a good use of public money.”

A spokesperson for Victoria Centre, said:

“The market is run and operated by Nottingham City Council and they have been – and remain – fully responsible for all decisions regarding its future.

“We are willing to continue an open dialogue with Nottingham City Council but, alongside the stallholders, we are seeking greater clarity on their long-term position regarding the continued operation of the market and the financial investment that it requires from them.”

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

•  Victoria Centre Market: Penny Mordaunt slams lack of clarity for traders in the Commons

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