By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Shoppers and traders have one last chance to make their views known to Nottingham City Council before the future of the Victoria Market is decided.
The Labour-run authority has put forward a proposal to review its operation of the market in the Victoria Centre, which opened in July 1972.
Closing it would save the Labour-run authority £39m over the remaining 50 years of its current arrangement.
The council says it must consider the market’s future because customer demand for it is falling, and it is paying a substantial subsidy to keep it going.
Some traders blamed high rents, lack of investment from the council, and a failure to bring in new businesses for the decline.
Some businesses such as Sweet Tooth and Mary and Tony’s Books, which have been in the market for decades, decided to close before it came to decision day.
But Stephen Taylor, who runs Aladdin’s Cave, has helped launch a petition to save the market.
He said: “Nottingham City Council are trying to close the Victoria Centre Market claiming the cost of running the market exceeds the revenue obtained from it. They claim that closing the market would save £39m over the remaining 50 years of the current lease agreement.
“This is considered to be wildly over exaggerated and unsubstantiated. The market is, and should be, an asset to the people of the city.
“The market is a lifeline to many people in the city centre and surrounding areas and with the cost of living squeeze is now more vital than ever.
“The only reason the market isn’t performing is that the council mismanaged it for years.”
The petition to save the market has attracted 462 signatures so far.
The council leases the market space in the Victoria Centre and says it provides “a significant annual subsidy”.
This is due to reduced income to cover the landlord’s service charge and other running costs.
The council says its main government grant has also been slashed by millions over the last decade.
Discussions have therefore taken place around the principle of the council exiting the lease arrangement after other options were deemed not viable.
However, before any final decision is made, the council says it is consulting with stakeholders, customers and the public.
Cllr Linda Woodings (Lab), acting portfolio holder for markets, said: “We have received a really good number of responses to the consultation so far with some interesting ideas for the future, all of which will be taken into consideration.
“I think people have found the public meetings so far, very useful and they have welcomed the chance to speak to our team for more information and to get support in recording their views.
“We would also like to welcome people who perhaps don’t speak English as a first language. There will be support available at these meetings to assist them with understanding the issues and completing the survey.”
The last consultation meeting is at Victoria Market today (Monday, May 23), between 1.30 and 2.30pm.
Paper copies of the survey will be available at the market until June 5 and can be completed and deposited at a secure box on site.
Those unable to visit the centre can engage with the consultation on the council’s website.