Wales

Newport Market flower stall set to close after 78 years

Johanna Davies Image copyright South Wales Argus
Image caption Johanna Davies claims traders feel the new terms are unfair

The owner of a flower shop which has been in Newport market for 78 years is "very upset" and may move due to a near four-fold increase in rent and charges.

Johanna Davies says her payments would go up by 280% under proposed terms set out by developers LoftCo.

They plan a £12m transformation of the market building to add 80 apartments, a tech hub and performance space.

Newport council said traders knew they had to agree terms or leave, and have told them to go by the end of August.

Termination notices sent by letter said: "You will be aware of ongoing plans for the redevelopment of the market and the developer will require vacant possession of the Market Hall in order to carry out the work."

Image copyright LoftCo
Image caption An artist's impression of Newport Market after the planned development

However, traders have been offered three months rent-free and staggered rents over the first three years if they agree to stay under the new terms.

LoftCo, which will become the market's new landlord and manager, aims to create five times the current footfall, while attracting 100 new businesses and more than 300 jobs.

Ms Davies told the Local Democracy Reporting Service she felt "very upset" and was looking to move.

"I do not know if anybody has said they are going to stay," she said.

"We all think the terms are not very fair, they are very one-sided and very expensive for what it is."

Set up by Ms Davies's grandparents in 1942, the stall has supplied flowers to the Queen and for the Nato summit held in the city in 2014.

Two other stalls - Kriminal Records and Jamaire Gifts - have also said they will relocate.

A Newport council spokeswoman said LoftCo twice offered to meet tenants, saying: "They would have been aware that if they did not want to be part of the new scheme, they would have to leave."

LoftCo previously said plans were ready to submit, but a planning application has yet to appear validated.

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