Several traders at Wrexham’s £4.5 million market and arts centre could face eviction this week after being issued with an ultimatum letter.
A ‘small number’ of stallholders at Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham say they have been involved in an ongoing dispute with the local authority over contracts and rent payments.
Now business owners have been handed a letter by staff from Wrexham Council, asking them to either and sign contracts or leave the premises by 5pm this Wednesday.
One stallholder, who did not wish to be named, said some have still not received contracts, “We’ve basically been told if we don’t sign these contracts then by this Wednesday, we’re going to be kicked out.
“It’s bullying, because they gave us a copy of one of the letters then took it away because there was a mistake on it.
“Three stallholders have had the letters but nobody else has even had the contracts to sign.
“Because we didn’t agree with some of the issues, we didn’t sign it.”
The letter from the council’s service manager for assets, Simon Roberts, says that tenancy at the market is subject to traders signing a licence.
He describes the fact that stallholders have yet to sign contracts as ‘not acceptable’.
In his letter Mr Roberts said: “The delay in obtaining your signature cannot continue.
“Kindly note that if the signed licence is not returned by 5pm on Wednesday September 19, 2018, we shall require you to immediately vacate the unit and shall invoice you accordingly for the rental sums owing in respect of your period of occupation.”
However, the business owner said the delay in contracts being handed out was caused by the authority, and believes people should be compensated for the issues they have experienced.
They added: “Nobody’s arguing against rent being paid, but they’ve done no advertising at all for the stalls.
“We’re just arguing that we should be entitled to at least three months’ free rent.
“Their attitude is that the stalls were ready, but there wasn’t any Wi-Fi for two months.”
A spokesperson for Tŷ Pawb said the ultimatum only affected a small number of traders and claimed terms were issued to them earlier this summer.
They added other stallholders had signed agreements and paid rent invoices.
They said: “We liaise regularly with all of our tenants and would advise anyone who feels they may be having problems to get in touch with us.
“Staff members at Tŷ Pawb have had frequent discussions with stallholders and offered numerous opportunities to raise any concerns, though this matter has not been raised with us.
“We appreciate the important contribution traders are making to the success of Tŷ Pawb, and are keen to work with traders wherever we can to ensure any outstanding issues are resolved.”
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).
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