Glasgow & West Scotland

Paisley Shopping Centre ceiling collapse angers retailers

Paisley shopping centre retailers
Image caption Retailers in The Paisley Shopping Centre missed out on a week's trade after a ceiling collapsed

Retailers claim they have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket after a ceiling collapsed at a Renfrewshire shopping centre.

The business owners missed out on a week's trade when the Paisley Shopping Centre shut following the collapse, last month.

Now some claim they have been offered no compensation by building managers and no explanation about what happened.

Vine Property Management declined to comment.

Shoppers and staff had to be evacuated when the ceiling caved in on 4 November, although no-one was hurt.

The centre is home to large retailers including Boots, Greggs, Optical Express and an M&S outlet.

But it is also the location of a number of smaller businesses, whose owners say they have been hit hard by the week-long closure.

Image copyright Paisley Heritage and Mysteries
Image caption Shoppers and staff were evacuated from the shopping centre after the ceiling collapsed

Retailers who are charged a monthly rent claim they had to pay in full despite the closure and loss of earnings.

Others said damage to the centre was not covered in their business insurance and they have not been offered compensation.

Stock left to 'rot'

Cafe owner Leanne Delaney, 40, said hundreds of pounds worth of stock was left "lying to rot" while the shopping centre was closed.

She said she was not given any advice or updates on her leased property until six days after being evacuated and did not know what to tell her members of staff or food suppliers.

Image caption The Paisley Centre was closed for a week

"To this point, we still don't know what happened, what they're doing to solve the roof coming in or if it'll happen again," she said.

"Not one person has come and spoken to us. And I'm down thousands and thousands of pounds weeks before Christmas".

'Nobody is telling us what's going on'

Image caption Noor Arfeen has been going back and forth trying to get answers

Noor Arfeen, 49, who runs a hair extension and wig business, claims he has lost out on £8,000.

He said he has been going round in circles trying to get answers about what happened and to find out whether he can get compensation.

"I don't know where to go," said Mr Arfeen, whose business has been based in the centre for nine years.

"When the centre was closed, nobody co-operated with us.

"The problem is that nobody is telling us what's going on".

'Nobody cares about us'

Stuart Dunne, 37, had only been running his electronics shop since August when the ceiling came down outside his shop.

He said the scene was "like something from a disaster movie".

Like many other shops in the centre, he lost out on earnings. He was unable to pay his daughter, who works for him part-time, or order stock.

And he claims it has had an effect on the number of shoppers using the centre as they are now "iffy" about walking through the building.

He is calling for a "rent-free period" for those who pay monthly to cover the time shops and services were shut.

Mr Dunne said he could not claim his own business insurance because "gradual deterioration" to the building was not included.

"I feel like nobody cares about us as tenants," he added.

'There has been no apology'

Image caption Mr Njari has had to cancel staff for the Christmas period to keep costs down

Francis Njari, 25, runs a hair salon in the centre and said most of his customers had not returned after the incident.

He said most of his custom depends on passing trade which has dropped considerably since the collapse.

"There has been no apology. This is about the safety of the public," he said.

What next for the tenants at the centre?

Both Vine Property Management, which is in charge of the building, and Paisley Centre Management, which is in charge of daily operations at the centre, declined to comment.

Many of the small retailers pay contributions toward the Paisley First initiative which supports tenants and encourages economic growth in the area.

A Paisley First spokesperson said: "We are greatly relieved that no-one was injured in the incident at the Paisley Centre and that the centre has since reopened.

"We understand that claiming insurance for any business interruption is standard procedure and we are available to any levy payer who would like us to assist them in dealing with their insurance company on losses incurred".

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