Sunday 3 March 2024
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Nottingham

Victoria Centre Market traders still in the dark about future plans for the facility

Victoria Centre Market traders say they have not heard from Nottingham City Council in the three months since they were told a final decision over its future remains unresolved.

The Labour-run council announced in January last year it wanted to bring an end to its lease on the market in a bid to save £39m over 50 years.

Negotiations for an early exit had been taking place with asset managers Global Mutual and the remaining traders.

However, the council said compensation sums for most traders had gone above its agreed budget and negotiations stalled.

The deadline to vacate the market then passed and Global Mutual terminated the proposed agreement.

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Victoria Centre Market scaled

At a meeting in June, traders were told the market would remain open for now, and new businesses would be accepted on short-term licences.

During a meeting of the Full Council on September 11, council leader Cllr David Mellen (Lab) said the authority “remains in regular contact with traders”, but some say they have not heard anything since.

John Easom, of Goldbank Jewellers, said: “We’ve not heard anything from them since our meeting in June.

“We have never seen David Mellen at the market. Pavlos Kotsonis has never visited to my knowledge and we rarely see people from the office downstairs.”

Mr Easom said he had set up a new shop at the front of the market which is serving “roughly double what we used to”.

“The council should be making the most of markets, not killing them,” he added.

Traders claim that they understand there have been 10 applications from new traders wishing to set up in the market, but no new shops have opened.

“While there is no longer any legal agreement to allow the surrender from the Victoria Market, at least with Global Mutual, it is still the council’s preferred position to exit the Victoria Market,” Cllr Mellen said during the meeting on Monday.

“We are undertaking a review to identify the options available and these will be considered by members later this year.

“These options will include arrangements for trader notice compensation.”

Cllr Mellen told members in the chamber the council had inherited a ‘very difficult situation from our forefathers’.

“Now we are in a situation where in order to take staff and stores out of our market we have to pay the owners to get out of a lease, that is a difficult arrangement and one I would say is unfair,” he said.

Cllr Kevin Clarke, the leader of the Nottingham Independents and Independent Group, said: “Isn’t it the case we have completely lost control of the situation and are in fact subject to the complete whim of Global Mutual?”

Cllr Mellen replied: “I agree with you that we are a little bit over a barrel with Global Mutual.

“I don’t know if we knew what we know now we would have been supporting that arrangement in the first place.

“Yes there could be arrangements for short-term leases, but that is not going to solve the problem is it? It is not going to renew a market which is not as popular as it once was.

“I know some people still go there because there are some things you can’t get anywhere else, and I feel sorry for those traders, but we need to move on.

“Because other businesses in the city, without the subsidy that those people are getting, are also finding it a struggle and you can see that with the shops which are vacant.”

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