Unsettled rent row extends Oxford Covered Market uncertainty

Oxford's Covered Market

Oxford's Covered Market

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

OXFORD’S Covered Market looks to have been hit by months’ more uncertainty after a deal could not be reached over rents.

It means an independent arbitrator will now be appointed to decide how much the historic market’s traders should pay.

In March, Oxford City Council was accused of going back on its word after refusing to pass on a rise, recommended by an arbitrator for five test case units, to the rest of the market.

The council said there was a mistake in the arbitrator’s calculations, meaning it could not pass on the proposed rent increase of 7.3 per cent.

Instead it sought an increase of 20 per cent and, after a compromise from the Covered Market Traders Association (CMTA) was rejected, the two parties are now in deadlock.

Joy Hetherington, CMTA member and owner of Oxford Aromatics, said: “The council declined our polite offer and we will be going to arbitration, frustrating as it may be.

“We have just got to get on with it. After a while the level of stress is such that you have just got to ignore it. It is now two years and we have absolutely no idea how much back rent we owe.

“We are confident we have a good case but you can never second guess an arbitrator.”

Related links

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has been asked to appoint an arbitrator to handle the case.

Initially, the city council had proposed to put rents up by as much as 70 per cent.

The arbitrator’s previous findings were in relation to the five test case units.

A second arbitration, relating to about 40 members of the CMTA, was put on hold pending the smaller review, with the city council agreeing to apply its findings to the larger group.

City councillor Colin Cook, the executive board member for city development, said: “I am disappointed that the CMTA didn’t accept our offer.

“Twenty per cent is not that high if you look at it over the five-year period and the relatively low rents that are there already.

“As a council we have to seek best value and we think the arbitrator who did the first five units made a mistake.

“It would be better if this was settled, and settled early, but if the traders have chosen to go to the arbitrator then we will have to follow through with that process.”

City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We expect the arbitration to take at least 12 weeks. We are unable to say at this stage how much it will cost.”

TIMELINE

  • July 2012: Rent rises of up to 70 per cent announced for the next five years
  • October 2012: One in six traders “looking to sell up” because of the rent increase
  • April 2013: Traders say the market is in battle for its life as they fail to reach an agreement and the dispute goes to arbitration
  • May 2013: Oxford City Council’s development chief Colin Cook accuses traders of talking down the market
  • July 2013: The city council says it expects result of arbitration process in August
  • August 2013: No result issued as the process is beset by delays
  • March 2014: Arbitrators recommend 7.3 per cent rise but issue remains unresolved

Our top stories:

Update: Police say Bicester explosives may have been plundered from protected sites

Oxford Mail:

11:06am Thursday 18th September 2014

WAR munitions discovered this morning at a home in Bicester may have come from illegal metal detecting at heritage sites.

Novelist books in to join Oxford prep school celebrations

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

MIDSOMER Murders creator Anthony Horowitz joined an Oxford school to help celebrate its 150th birthday.

Mullins backs O'Dowda to hit the heights

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

CALLUM O’Dowda has all the attributes to progress and play at a higher level, according to Oxford United teammate Johnny Mullins.

Nearly a third of county five-year-olds have tooth decay

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

ALMOST one in three Oxfordshire five-year-olds has tooth decay, new figures have revealed.

Pilot error blamed for flipping Tiger Moth

Oxford Mail: CROY: Enthusiast hopes Airport House biplane will fly again

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A VINTAGE aircraft owned by a Oxfordshire man crash-landed because of pilot error.

Mum Ruth makes it a world first in hunt for Ebola vaccine

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A MUM-of-two from Oxfordshire was the first person in the world to be injected with an Ebola gene yesterday as part of a city-led battle against the deadly virus.

Dad was found hanged in woods

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A father who was missing for six months was found hanged in a Norfolk woods, an inquest in Oxford heard yesterday.

Man admits assault and robberies

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

A 22-year-old man admitted assault by beating and affray on the first day of his trial at Oxford Crown Court.

Crash on A40 causes delays

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

Two cars were involved in a crash in North Oxford yesterday.

Man in Taser incident at station still stable

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

A knife-wielding man who police fired a Taser at when he scaled a signal gantry at Banbury Station on Monday was still in a stable condition in hospital yesterday.

Man fell into cellar window after leaving pub

Oxford Mail: Oxfordshire County Council county hall

12:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

A MAN who was “heavily intoxicated” died after falling into a cellar window, an inquest heard yesterday.

Oldest ex-pupil at 92 joins fun at school’s birthday bash to mark 100th year

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

More than 10,000 pupils and members of staff have passed through Headington School’s gates since they opened in 1915.

By-election for Quarry and Risinghurst

Oxford Mail: Councillors Dee Sinclair and Laurence Baxter want residents to be able to be use the closed A40 junction

7:40am Thursday 18th September 2014

The by-election for Quarry and Risinghurst will take place today.

Documentary follows friends’ Wantage house share

Oxford Mail: Rebrand for all of ITV's channels

7:40am Thursday 18th September 2014

Four adult friends with various learning disabilities moving in together in Wantage will be the subject of an ITV documentary tonight at 7.30pm.

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