Nottingham City Council accused of 'running down' market as closure date looms

Inside Victoria Centre Market in Nottingham
Inside Victoria Centre Market in Nottingham -Credit:Reach Plc

Nottingham City Council has been accused of "running down" the Victoria Centre Market as uncertainty continues about whether it will still be closed this summer. The new councillor overseeing the market says the council recently met with the operators of the Victoria Centre last month to discuss the options left to close the longstanding and once thriving market down.

Traders were initially told the council would surrender its lease on February 24, 2022, with some having signed compensation offers and arranged new premises to move into. This date came and went with no further certainty and it was eventually confirmed that negotiations had fallen through with Global Mutual, the asset managers of the Victoria Market.

Traders remained in a state of limbo until a meeting called on December 11 last year saw Nottingham City Council say that it wanted to close the market this summer (2024). The council said negotiations with Global Mutual had been "both complex and protracted" and that talks would continue over the termination of the lease agreement, which the council says would have cost it £39 million over the next 50 years.

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Yet with summer approaching, no further detail has been given on exactly how and when the closure will take place. Despite having pledged to hold a monthly meeting with the remaining traders on the issue, the council has not held one since March 12.

Giving an update on the situation in a meeting on Monday (May 20), Councillor Sam Lux, the new executive member for carbon reduction, leisure and culture, said: "Recent meetings with traders have confirmed that the council is still seeking to close the market and officers met with the operators of the Victoria Shopping Centre last month to discuss which exit options now exit.

"I will be meeting with officers in the coming days to discuss the options available to us to deliver the decision we took as a council in 2022 to close the market." Councillor Lux also pledged to keep in touch with traders, but there is growing anger at the lack of certainty.

John Easom, who runs Gold Bank Jewellers, sent an email to the council which said: "You have ran the market down for two and a half years since January 2022 when you announced you would like to exit the lease. You haven't allowed any new traders into the market which is the only way it will pay for itself and help the existing traders by getting busier again.

"Unfortunately you don't appear to realise the value of the asset you hold which is a crying shame. If only you had put the effort into making the market thrive again like other cities have when they have realised the value of an independent market to the footfall of a city.

"It still isn't too late but please can you actually make a decision and in the interests of honesty I would be all for keeping the market open. Please resolve this situation of which you still have 47 years remaining on the existing lease.

"Just honour your obligations, people need markets please sort this out especially as the situation is wholly of your making." Councillor Lux added that the council wanted to give further clarity "as soon as possible."