Sports Direct's Mike Ashley told to reinstate Jenners signs in Edinburgh

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland News

image copyrightEdinburgh Rope Access
image captionEdinburgh Rope Access was employed to remove all three signs on the Jenners building over two days last week

Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley has been told by council officials to reinstate the signs on the historic Jenners building in Edinburgh.

Mr Ashley, the current tenant, has three months from when an enforcement notice comes into effect on 14 May.

A spokesman for Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, who owns the building, said the signs were removed without his authorisation last week.

Mike Ashley's spokeswoman has been asked for comment.

Anders Krogh Vogdrup - the director of AAA United, that owns the listed Jenners building - told BBC Scotland that although it was technically liable, the removal of the signs had nothing to do with AAA United.

He said: "We are very relieved that the signs will be reinstated."

There were three Jenners signs on each side of the Princes Street/South St David Street corner building until they were removed.

BBC Scotland understands one sign might be as old as the building with the other two almost 20 years old.

Nicky Erskine, owner of Edinburgh Rope Access, said his team was asked to take down the gold-coloured lettering and worked for two days to remove it last week.

He said it was now being stored on the sixth floor of the department store.

Neil Gardiner, City of Edinburgh Council's planning convener, said: "We can confirm that a listed building enforcement notice has been sent to the owner and the tenant of the building.

"It requires the lettering to be reinstated in its original positions on the Jenners building."

image copyrightEdinburgh Rope Access
image captionThe three Jenners signs are being stored on the sixth floor of the Jenners building in Edinburgh

The Jenners building has occupied a prime location on Princes Street for 183 years.

It was bought by Mr Povlsen - who is one of Scotland's biggest landowners - in 2017, reportedly for £53m.

The store is currently operated by the Mike Ashley's Frasers Group, which owns the commercial rights to the Jenners trading name.

Frasers Group includes Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles.

It said it would be quitting the site in May after the two sides were unable to come to an agreement.

Despite that, the building owners said they would keep it as a department store as well as turning unused parts of the six-storey building into a hotel.

The building owner is currently in advanced talks with a new tenant to move into the department store.

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