City boss seeks to bring an end to market rental fights

Entrance to the city's Covered Market

Entrance to the city's Covered Market

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

LENGTHY disputes over the rents in Oxford’s Covered Market could be consigned to history if a senior Oxford City Council officer has his way.

David Edwards, the executive director for city regeneration, has said he is looking into better ways of reaching an agreement with traders at the historic market so that the dispute is not dragged out.

The city council still has not reached an agreement with most of the traders over the latest five-year rent period, which was meant to begin in 2012.

However because the matter has gone to arbitration and there has yet to be a result, traders are facing the prospect of any increase being back-dated to cover the past two years.

Mr Edwards told the Oxford Mail: “I agree that this cannot continue and there are a number of practical ways forward which we are looking at.

“The first thing is to make sure that the traders and the management of the market share a vision and an objective for the future.

“But as landlord and tenant, the negotiation of a lease is inherently adversarial and the question is whether we can find a better mechanism for dealing with rent reviews.

“There is no silver bullet. If rents are linked to inflation then it is fair that the council should share part of it if trade is going well.

“We could say we will put out five units to independent arbitration (and use that for the other traders).”

Oxford Mail:

  • CRITICISM: Vicki Alder says Oxford City Council has always expected “very high rents” for the Covered Market

In 2012 the council originally proposed a rent increase of up to 70 per cent for some traders in the Covered Market. But the council failed to reach an agreement with the traders and the issue has gone to arbitration.

Mr Edwards, who stressed the council’s initial rent offer was based on independent advice, said an arbitrator has been appointed to look into the issue of the Covered Market’s rents and he expected a decision by the end of the year.

Vicki Alder, of the Covered Market Traders Association and Macsamillion shoe shop, said: “In fairness it has never been us that’s the problem. It has been the council expecting very high rents.

“Unless the council changes that it doesn’t really matter what they do. I am all for trying to have it negotiated quickly and fairly because this does nobody any good.”

Sandie Griffith, of florist Jemini, said: “At the last major rent review in 2007 the CMTA suggested sample test cases but the council refused.

“This time they actually offered and pursued test cases but failed to honour the result.

“Rent reviews would not take so long if the council served notices on time and proposed an increase that was both realistic and supportable.

“Any change in the present procedure would require the agreement of tenants.”

Mr Edwards said that the city council did serve the notices on time.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.

  • Our top stories

Firefighters battle loft blaze in Witney

Oxford Mail: Fire engine Oxfordshire

10:01am Sunday 21st December 2014

FIREFIGHTERS were able to stop a roof fire spreading and destroying the rest of the house last night.

What brilliant picture is in our Oxford Mail Advent Calendar today?

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014

December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?

Skye Hall's family: Our first Christmas without our brave son

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

LOOM bands are taking over the house of Skye Hall’s family as they prepare to spend their first Christmas without the brave youngster who died in August.

Hudspeth backs councillors in demand to be told man's pay in allowances row

Oxford Mail: Ian Hudspeth

8:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

OXFORDSHIRE County Council leader Ian Hudspeth has backed councillors Rodney Rose and Kevin Bulmer who asked a voter to reveal his wages when he challenged them over a 19 per cent hike in their allowance.

Two arrested for GBH after man injured in fight

Oxford Mail:

5:24pm Saturday 20th December 2014

Two teenagers from Witney were arrested last night after a man suffered a broken arm.

Oxfam "accepts" tweet ruling

Oxford Mail:

2:23pm Saturday 20th December 2014

OXFAM has said it accepts criticism from charity regulators over an alleged “party political” tweet about a “perfect storm” of poverty.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree