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:

Bullfinch report reveals many more victims as mother calls for resignations

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A VICTIM of the Bullfinch gang and her mother demanded that heads should roll at Oxfordshire County Council ahead of today’s report into the abuse scandal.

Fashion guru Anna Wintour arrives in city for Oxford Union talk

Oxford Mail:

6:36pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Formidable fashion icon and Editor-in-Chief of US Vogue Anna Wintour was ushered into Oxford Union for a talk tonight.

University land pledge offers villagers hopes of flood relief

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A £120M proposed flood relief channel running through Kennington has been welcomed after it was revealed university chiefs will help out.

Bullfinch: Authorities missed opportunities to uncover grooming gangs

Oxford Mail:

12:59pm Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A story rounding up the report and reaction to this morning's Bullfinch Serious Case Review.

New loan signing Gnanduillet beefs up Oxford United's strikeforce

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Armand Gnanduillet is available to make his Oxford United debut against Morecambe tonight after joining on loan until the end of the season.

Commuters are left bemused by award for rail operator

Oxford Mail: A First Great Western High Speed Train

9:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A COMMUTER group said it “struggled to understand” how First Great Western has won a major industry award.

Superstar rapper talks up a storm with students

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

HE might have been The College Dropout, but Kayne West caused a storm with university students yesterday.

Scales of justice for man who ate live goldfish then posted a video

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A MAN who swallowed a live goldfish has been ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and banned from keeping fish for five years.

Almost all children get a place in school of choice

Oxford Mail: New Oxfordshire county council logo

8:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

MORE than 90 per cent of primary school leavers in Oxfordshire will go to their first-preference secondary school this year.

'Private education is a waste of money' head tells parents

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

THE headteacher of a Headington school has said parents should not “waste their money” on private education after it received a glowing Ofsted report.

Vintage car convoy celebrates automotive history

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

THE streets of Oxfordshire were transported back in time yesterday as a convoy of vintage cars made its way through the county.

Blue plaque honour for Honor at her former school

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A FORMER Wychwood School pupil and prominent 20th-century scientist was honoured with a blue plaque yesterday.

Rare Charles I coin could make £50,000 at auction

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

A RARE £1 coin dating back to the English Civil War could fetch up to £50,000 at auction.

Council acts to crack problem of egg-box homes across city

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Tuesday 3rd March 2015

PLANS to help stop the creation of “egg box homes”

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