Stallholders in shock as historic Nelson indoor market to close
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Stallholders at The Admiral's Market Place situated in the ground floor of the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre have been given until April 12th to quit the premises as officials at Pendle Borough Council say they can no longer afford to keep it going.
It is understood the market, which houses a variety of businesses including a clothes store, barbers, haberdashery, music and food stalls, has been in decline for many years and was running at a significant loss each year. In fact, only 26 market stalls out a total of 81 stalls were being used by 15 traders - and this was the case before the pandemic.
Traders who have struggled during the past 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic have reacted with shock and dismay at the news.
Belinda McCarthy, who runs Belinda's Barbers, said: "The closure letter came as a shock to me as it doesn't give me much time to tell my customers I'm going mobile or moving to different premises.
"I've been trading from the market for 14 years and have built up a local client base. It's a real shame as some time ago I had the opportunity to open a salon in Barnoldswick, but I declined as I preferred to remain in Nelson. I just wish the council could allow us to trade for a few months so that we can inform our customers about our future plans."
Also disappointed are one of the longest tenants in the market hall, Ken (77) and Rosemary Holden (73), who have ran the haberdashery stall since the market first opened in 1967. Devastated they are having to close, Rosemary said: "I am absolutely gutted. I've ran the stall for 53 years. I am not going to keep going forever, but I would rather choose when I finish rather than being told to finish. We have a lot of Asian customers and with Eid coming up I normally sell a lot of my stock so if I was given two or three months, I would shift it all - even if I had to reduce it by 50%."
Her husband, Ken added: "It's just ridiculous. We have around £30,000 worth of stock, but we just can't shift it and don't know what to do with it. We received a letter last Monday, but everyone knew about the closure before us. It feels like someone has pulled the rug from under us. My wife has run this stall for such a long time. She was in tears when she received the notice that the market won't reopen. Like most businesses, we have suffered a lot due to the pandemic, but were looking forward to reopening on April 12th and keeping our heads above water, but that's not going to happen now as the market is closing for good. This is our livelihood and we haven't a clue what we are going to do next."
Another long-standing market trader, David Rostron, owner of Jimmy the Jewellers in the market hall for 38 years before moving to a stall in the upstairs of the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre in 2012, said he was saddened and heartbroken for his friends.
"I am so disappointed and upset for my friends," the 65-year-old said. "I just don't know how the council can do this without any pre-warning. It's devastating and very unfair for the traders who are not even given a chance to shift the stock or let their customers know where to find them. Not everyone can move their business online, it's just not the same. I am heartbroken for everyone who is facing closure, I really am. The decision is not only shocking, but devastating too."
In 2017 Pendle Rise Shopping Centre celebrated 50 years since it opened it's doors with reports of rising footfall. In its heydey, it was packed with bustling shops on all three levels of the shopping centre, which was opened as the Arndale Centre in 1967.
The council has offered to help any trader to find alternative premises so that they can re-open their business.
Coun. Mohammed Iqbal MBE, leader of Pendle Council, said: “The difficult decision to close Nelson indoor market was made at the Special Budget Full Council meeting on February 26th.
"The indoor market has been in decline for many years and was running at a significant loss each year.
“Only 26 market stalls out a total of 81 stalls were being used by 15 traders - and this was the case before the pandemic.
“The market has been two-thirds empty for some time and it is sadly not possible to keep running it at such a loss."
He added: "The future of Nelson Market has been considered a number of times over the past years, due to the losses incurred by the Council and reducing numbers of customers coming into the market hall. The licence agreement, which is signed by traders and the council, gives both parties the option to give four weeks’ notice to terminate the licence and allow traders to leave without penalty. We have written to all the traders to explain the situation and we appreciate that this announcement has come at a difficult time and that it’s upsetting news.
“We have offered to help any trader to find alternative premises so that they can re-open their business. Where possible, we’ve offered the option to relocate to Colne Market which is run by the council. We’ve also contacted owners of the nearby privately run bazaars and malls, in the hope that they can relocate into new premises and continue trading in the town."
He went onto say: “Pendle Council is providing market traders with a full list of the possible options. And we have also offered to help traders re-locate, including offering temporary storage of their equipment and stock. We would have preferred to meet traders in person to tell them this news, but because of Covid-19 restrictions it hasn’t been possible.
“But we have now met with almost all traders individually and within Covid-19 secure guidelines, to discuss how we can help and further meetings are being arranged this week.”