Traders from the Victorian Market in Inverness to stage demo
TRADERS facing eviction from the Victorian Market in Inverness are planning a public demonstration next month in their campaign to get a better deal.
Highland Council is set to issue 15 traders with notices to quit to enable a £1.5 million renovation of the market and fish hall beginning next year, but many fear it will put them out of business.
Campaigners plan to demonstrate the strength of feeling by handing out leaflets and displaying banners from noon on Saturday, December 14 at the market’s Academy Street entrance.
Kasia Pogo, owner of Saffron Oriental Food Shop, invited the public to go along and show its support for small independent businesses.
“We accept the fact we have to go,” she said. “But we are fighting for a better deal.”
A new petition has been launched after an earlier one supporting affected traders gathered 5000 signatures.
It calls on Highland Council to meet the relocation costs during the work – expected to take almost a year – increase the notice period from three to six months and increase an already improved compensation offer of nine months rent to rent of one year.
The affected traders include William Maclean who has operated his business, Macleans Jewellers, in the market for the last 24 years.
With the current situation causing uncertainty, Mr Maclean said he was considering closing the business.
“I have not made up my mind but I think I might call it day,” said the 75-year-old, who added he was in the dark about when the traders would have to move out.
“It is going to impact very hard.
“The trouble for myself is I have a big stock of jewellery. You cannot just get rid of it in a week or so. I also have two big engraving machines.”
The planned revamp includes creating a larger open area in the market where live entertainment and other events can be staged, plus an anchor restaurant/bar.