Market deal cost revealed

Lancaster Market closed 10th September 2012
Lancaster Market closed 10th September 2012

Surrendering the 99-year lease of the Lancaster Market building is costing taxpayers £13m, the Lancaster Guardian can reveal.

Lancaster City Council has finally released the figure as a new single retailer - thought to be clothing giant Primark - looks set to be moving in.

A report to the full council, to be discussed on February 5, highlights the £13m total cost, with £11.7m paid to the building’s owners Allied Lancaster, and compensation to traders and professional fees making up the rest.

The council said surrendering the lease would save taxpayers an estimated £30m in the long term.

Allied is now understood to be very close to announcing officially which retailer will move into the Marketgate Shopping Centre, after alterations to the building have been completed.

Coun Jon Barry, the city council’s cabinet member with responsibility for markets, said: “The closure of the market was a sad event. However, I am glad that many of the former market tenants have also found new premises to trade from in the city, bringing empty shop units back into use.

“The decision to buy the council out of the lease was partly financial - because the tax payer will benefit in the long term - and partly because we did not want to see the market building empty.”

The council says the expected news from Allied brings with it a new lease of life for the building, which closed as a market in 2012. The city council subsequently surrendered its lease on the building after years of uncertainty over its future.

In January the company received planning permission for the redevelopment of the site.