Victoria Market closure finally announced – but traders say they won’t leave

Stephen Taylor, owner of Aladdin's Cave in Victoria Market
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

A final decision to close Nottingham’s Victoria Centre market has been called ‘devastating’ and ‘a complete farce’ by traders, with some warning it will take an eviction order to get them to leave.

Nottingham City Council announced the closure yesterday (June 21), saying it will no longer use taxpayers’ money to subsidise the market.

The financially-struggling council announced plans to end the lease two years ago, which would save £39m over the remaining 50 years of its term.

However, traders claim the city centre market is still viable and the council has deliberately under-invested in order to close it.

A closure date has yet to be agreed, with some traders believing it will be early 2025.

Traders were informed of the decision yesterday (Thursday, June 20), and the news was released on social media by Nottingham Labour group, which controls the council, while they were still in the meeting with the authority.

It was also published around 5.30pm, during the first half of England’s group stage game against Denmark at the European Football Championship.

Leader Councillor Neghat Khan (Lab) said: “Our intention is to close Victoria Market.

“We met with traders on June 20 to explain that the council cannot justify continuing to spend taxpayers’ money to heavily subsidise the market, and the ongoing cost of maintenance means that market is no longer sustainable for the council to continue operating it.

“We will work with traders individually over the next few weeks to agree a closure date and outline our approach and timescales towards closure.

“We will also work with asset managers, Global Mutual, to consider the long-term future for the vacant space.”

Susanna Anderson with her beloved stall in Victoria Market

Susan Anderson runs Gemini Jewellers, a business started by her uncle 78 years ago before later moving into the market.

“Sad is an understatement. I’m absolutely devastated. I don’t want to leave, and neither do most people who aren’t retiring,” she said.

“The market is the heart of the Victoria Centre, and the whole process of not knowing what will happen has been really stressful.

“This little booth costs £600 a month, so I won’t be able to afford anywhere else, and I really don’t know what I’m going to do after this.

“Lots of people want to start up a stall here, but the council aren’t interested.

“How can you put a price on something that’s been going this long? If they offered me £100,000, I’d rather keep the shop open.”

A view of the market in the Victoria Centre

Stephen Taylor is the third generation of his family to run Aladdin’s Cave, which has been in the market since it opened in 1972.

“It’s a complete farce. The market has made money for years, then they brought new management in five or six years ago, and suddenly they say it’s unsustainable,” he said.

“It’s a viable market. We don’t know where the council have got their figures from, and they won’t show us.

“Somebody has made the decision a while ago to close the market, and the council’s too stubborn to admit they’ve made a mistake.

“I’m going to keep paying my rent and see if they evict me. I’m not going to go on my own.”

John Easom from the Gold Bank at Victoria Market

John Easom of Gold Bank Jewellers said: “How dare Cllr Khan talk like it’s a forgone conclusion that the market will shut down.

“Lots of traders explained they wouldn’t leave without legal action being taken against the council.

“The claims of subsidy would only ring true if the market was full and they couldn’t make it pay, they have not allowed new tenants in for three years.

“If they want the traders out they will need to put into action eviction orders, which cost thousands and take months to get to court.

“This is going to take the council years.”

Yolanda Small and Trevor Suban, co-owners of Ty’s Continental, plan to retire after 35 years at the market.

“I’m glad we’ve reached a decision – it’s been dragging on for two years,” Yolanda said.

“I feel sorry for people who have only just come in and put a lot of money into their stalls that they won’t get back.

“The council says it’s rundown – that’s because they won’t invest, get new stalls in and make it viable again.

“We’re actually the busiest we’ve ever been. Our takings have doubled over the last year.”

Nottingham City Council have been contacted for a response to the traders’ comments.

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