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Councillor Lewis Anwers Our Questions: 9

February 15, 2014

FoLKM said:

  • The whole report talks about buildings and stalls but not the people behind the stalls and how will they be affected.

Councillor Lewis replied:

What is important is that there is ongoing dialogue with the tenants, through information and feedback sessions, informal discussions and newsletters, all of which is very much part of our current programme of activity.

  • The indicative strategic programme, item 3.6, is a technical timetable but no clear sense of what it means for traders or customers.

The details contained in the report represent the best information in respect of the development programme at the time the report was prepared. The report clearly states that the programme remains subject to change as the scheme proposals develop and, as more detailed information becomes available such information will be shared directly with the traders in the first instance.

  • The George Street part of the Market will be turned into an extension of the Victoria Gate and handed over to a private developer with the council leasing back the ground floor.

Whilst it is acknowledged that the Council is seeking a developer for the George Street frontage and that the upper floors of any development would more than likely rest with the private developer, the ground and first floor accommodation will remain under the direct control of the City Council and the letting of such units will have regard to the benefits the occupiers will bring to the Market. It is important that the Market has a new frontage with the adjacent Victoria Gate development, in order to improve connectivity and footfall between the two developments

  • Traders are clearly not involved in the drawing up of any of these redevelopment plans but periodically “informed” in meetings.

It is acknowledged that the traders are not involved on a day to day basis in developing the scheme proposals. However, the Council does and will continue to engage with the traders at appropriate points in the design process and will endeavour to incorporate feedback that adds value to the project.

  • There is absolutely no mention of the key role that the Market has for those in low income in the city and how this redevelopment will affect them. In previous reports (investment case document for the Feasibility study) we read that the redevelopment would allow the council to charge higher rents in certain areas of the Market and the proposed  1976 is described as “niche” and “can be let at a premium” (investment case, para 5.10). Higher rents will mean higher prices.

The key to the success of the Market involves building on its existing customer base and attracting new customers into the Market. The proposals being developed have this aim at the core of their thinking

Hmm, it looks like Councillor Lewis has evaded all our questions here! Tell us what is at the core of your thinking…

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