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East Staffordshire Borough Council deny 'misleading' traders claim

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 04, 2014

By Rob Smyth

Comments (9)

COUNCIL bosses have dismissed claims that they have ever 'misled' traders at the revamped Burton Market Hall - after showdown talks were held in a bid to boost the site.

East Staffordshire Borough Council chiefs rejected claims made by traders that they had been 'misleading' them in terms of how full the market was going to be when it opened.

Sources close to the Mail revealed that traders are also said to have demanded that they are allowed to stay in the hall rent and service charge free until it is 70 per cent full, or they may pull out and leave the hall and withdraw from the market.

A spokesperson for East Staffordshire Borough Council said: "We are in discussions with the market tenants about a number of options in order to assist them whilst trade and footfall is being developed.

"There has never been any misleading of traders regarding occupancy – it is unfortunate that some of the interest that was initially formally expressed has not materialised, however interest in both the fixed units and the pop up stalls is increasing. We are currently looking forward to the opening of four new food outlets in the coming weeks to complement the existing offering provided from the current market hall traders."

Council chiefs have had to fight off claims they are 'not doing enough' and failing to bring in enough stallholders ever since the £1.6 million revamp was officially opened in June after being closed for 10 months.

Councillor Robert Hardwick, who heads up the project, said: "The Market Hall has undergone a tremendous redevelopment and we have been working tirelessly to entice new tenants into the vacant units as well as organise events throughout the coming months."

Businesses currently homed in the market include Quiglo Kitchenware, Burton Butchers, The Kandy Factory, fishmongers Fresh Catch. Bambeanos Play Cafe and Yolo Food Company are set to move in soon.

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9 comments

  • burtonbloke1  |  August 11 2014, 4:15PM

    Yes, lets forget this profligacy that has only benefitted the proprietors of the Octagon and Station street businesses. Lets 'move on' and 'look forward'. The councillors involved would love to see us sweep all this under the carpet. The future is tempered by the past so the PMA lecturing is a little bit patronising

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  • wendyanne  |  August 06 2014, 9:49PM

    Pointingwest. Talks have taken place between old traders and the council but I'm afraid the relationship between them has been damaged beyond repair. They should have listened, all our fears have come true. They kept saying we were against change. I can categorically tell you that is untrue, we could see the future of the market being split up and what it would mean for the hall. If they had kept the market in the market place whilst the hall was being renovated, kept the footfall to the area, well, it might have been a whole different story. They moved the outdoor market to station st because the hall was out of the way. They also said they planned to use the market place for a series of planned events which never happened, oh apart from the ill fated icerink. All things considered would that not have been a logical idea ? Even the town centre manager decided it was time to move on, I wonder why? Mattlong, I have thought long and hard on how to reply to you, I have written my answer twice but it went over 4000 characters, so no good, I have a lot to say, none of which would endear me to the council or the mp. Imagine you are a single mother of two, you have a mortgage, you have complete responsibility financially and as a parent you are mother and father, you the family rock. You have worked for a small family business all your working life, a job you love and thoroughly enjoy. The head of the small family business is winding down and looking to retire in the next couple of years. He tells you he would like the business to be yours, a reward for your hard work and loyalty for all those years. You have no means to set up your own business, so this means so much to you. A secure future for you and your children. Then before it can happen your world is turned upside down, you are to be outed and the business premises are to be demolished. The fear hits you, the panic starts, you have always provided and now its in jeopardy, you are 50 years old, been in the same job all your life, you are limited as to what you can do job wise as you have a child still in junior school. You have no savings, as it comes in and go out again. Not a happy picture is it? The way forward? Swad market seems to have a grip on things, they are going from strength to strength perhaps the council ought to try and poach their toby. ( market manager). You know I think the way forward along with others would be to put the outdoor back in the market place, the biggest problem for the outdoor has always been the weather ....so cover it. There are firms that make fantastic canopies, with solar panels on the roofs, guttering that leads to underground water tanks for watering the towns plants, eco friendly, innovative and stylish, bright colourful lights underneath, on non market days could be used for other events. Would be welcoming even in wet/ snowy weather, traders and customers would be dry, stock wouldnt be ruined. Many benefits. Of course an expensive initial outlay, but it could be a beautiful sight. But ive already been told its a ridiculous idea by the head of the project at the time.

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  • Ian789  |  August 04 2014, 9:22PM

    What genius decided to put the fresh fish stall right under the upstairs cafe ?

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  • mattlong  |  August 04 2014, 8:24PM

    Wendy Anne, I'm certainly not being paid by the Labour led council to praise them. Its interesting you say this. As a former member of the Labour party I actually had a little bit of stick in some quarters because people perceived I was a secret Andrew Griffiths fan! I guess that's life and you can't win. Where was I two years ago when all this was kicking off? I was walking round the old market hall doing a survey of traders with Julian Mott himself. The feedback I got was that they hadn't been listened to and I fed this back to Julian. This being said unlike some in the Labour party I was uncomfortable in declaring that I was 'campaigning' against changes to the market place. I was there to listen and feedback not to judge a Conservative led council who happened to have a vision for a new market place and a night time economy. Whatever the rights and wrongs of what went on (and you clearly were not consulted and for that I am sorry) we need to be trying to make this thing work. What is the way forward? You don't win a race by looking back over your shoulder.

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  • PointingWest  |  August 04 2014, 5:31PM

    wendyanne, I'm not wanting to play party politics with people's livelihoods but maybe the traders can now re-open dialogue now that the council is headed up by Cllr Mott? The fact that the previous administration clearly didn't take the advice of the people who new best and instead employed "experts" to do that. It's a bit of a hornets nest and i'm really saddened to see the wonderful architecture of the market hall not being used for what it is intended. I do agree that a good start would be to move the station street traders back to the market hall (if that's even possible now!)

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  • wendyanne  |  August 04 2014, 4:49PM

    Mattlong are you being paid by the council to praise them? I'm beginning to wonder, where were you 18 months to 2 years ago when all of this kicked off? Did you sign the petition asking the council to keep the market together? Where you one of the many members of the public that wrote to the council and/or the mp asking them to think about what they were doing? Perhaps you should come and see me, I have 2 folders full of letters written, articles in the papers, the proposal the market traders put together. Perhaps you would like to peruse exactly what went on, Councillor Hardwick never stood up for the traders when he was a member of the conservative cabinet. Mr Hinds and Councillor Leese who were in charge of the market never considered anything we traders said. They were surrounded by experts that knew what they were doing, we were told. Councillor Mott actually came to talk to us and listened and tried on our behalf to intervene, but to no avail. The council were given many ideas and answers by traders who desperately wanted to keep their businesses ongoing in the market place. We were of no consequence, they thought we would be easy to replace, they had 35 percent occupancy when it was at its worst out of 40 stalls. There are no longer 40 stalls to be had, I will let you do the math, but you havent got 35% occupancy now have you? The council had a good solid base of well established local businesses that should have been buit upon... but they threw us away. I have no idea anymore what they can do to change the result they have brought upon themselves, it is very sad and I feel for the traders that have committed themselves and hope they can survive.

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  • jre153  |  August 04 2014, 4:35PM

    The Council has done a good job in renovating the Market Hall which certainly had seen better days. However, to have a Market Place without market stalls seems perverse. Returning the stalls to their previous location would clearly assist in increasing footfall to the hall. The present location of the outdoor stalls in a wind tunnel, lacking the sun for a good part of the day is hardly ideal!

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  • mattlong  |  August 04 2014, 12:31PM

    We need to avoid the proverbial party political football of blame. None of us know who will be running the council after the May 2015 elections. We should all be supporting Robert Hardwick in his continued efforts to make this work. This needs to work for the good of Burton. Get behind Hardwick, support Council leader Julian Mott and embrace some of the ideas put forward by Andrew Griffiths in terms of advertising the market place on the internet and so on.

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  • Missy2167  |  August 04 2014, 7:53AM

    The council don't have the decency to hold their hands up and say 'Hey! We got it wrong'. Its just one excuse after another. Bring all the market stalls back to the market place and we might stand a chance of getting the market back on track....but will they listen? Will they heck!

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