By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter
Traders say delays to a final decision on the future of the Victoria Centre Market are “damaging businesses” after it was confirmed no changes will be made before the end of April.
Last year Nottingham City Council said it may bring an end to the lease on the market in a bid to save £39m over 50 years.
The Labour-run authority says it has been running the market at an annual trading loss since 2014, when former owner of the centre intu hiked service charges.
It has therefore been forced to subsidise the market at a cost of more than £1.5m a year.
While the council is expected to recommend its closure, a final decision has yet to be made more than 60 weeks after its plans were made public.
The council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it does not plan to make a decision before the end of April, meaning any news on the market’s future is unlikely until after the local election on May 4.
Of the council’s statement, John Easom, one of just 31 remaining market traders, who runs the Gold Bank Jewellers in the market, said: “It tells us nothing and just delays the decision-making process even further, whilst damaging businesses.
“They are treating us like second-class citizens.”
Confidential discussions have been held with all traders on compensation offers in the event the market closes.
Some traders say compensation is sufficient for them to make a start elsewhere, while others say the offer is “menial” and does not cover the “significant” costs of relocating.
The council says it is still considering the full financial impact of the proposed exit from the market, and whether it represents best value for taxpayers.
The plight of traders was branded “shocking” by the Government during a debate in the House of Commons on March 16.
In a statement on March 30 a City Council spokesman said: “We understand that uncertainty about the market’s future is uncomfortable and unhelpful for traders.
“While we are negotiating with Global Mutual, it is unfortunately impossible to give them a definitive answer.
“To try to provide some short-term certainty, we have guaranteed there will be no changes before the end of April.
“We have committed to updating them as soon as we have any further information to share.”