Payment protest over disrepair at shopping arcade
A fed-up shopkeeper is withholding part of his payment towards the upkeep of a Newark shopping thoroughfare in protest at the way he says it has been allowed to fall into disrepair.
Mr Richard Pearson, owner of The Arcade Framing Gallery, said The Arcade had become unattractive to visitors and shoppers were being put off from visiting businesses there.
He claimed the managing agent, Lambert Smith Hampton, was more interested in refurbishing vacant shops to attract new tenants than looking after existing clients.
Mr Pearson, who is considering moving his business, said his shop has a problem with rising damp and an area previously affected has not been decorated.
Mr Pearson said other problems included replacement floor tiles in the wrong colour and not slip resistant, and a dirty glass roof.
He said the floor tiles seemed to have been replaced with kitchen tiles and soon cracked.
Tiles on the wall opposite his shop have partly fallen away, exposing bare brick. The area has been screened by a barrier for several months and no repairs undertaken, according to shopkeepers.
Left: Tiling fell from a wall some time ago and has yet to be replaced.
Top right: Floor tiles have been replaced by tiles that do not match, are not non-slip and have quickly cracked, leading to suggestions they are bathroom or kitchen tiles.
Above: A damaged facade.
Mr Pearson said when businesses reported problems, repair work was either unsatisfactory or requests were ignored.
“We have had problems since we moved in, when there was an issue with the drainage and water was coming in from the roof,” he said.
“It has not been repaired properly and now we are getting damp over the walls, which is not ideal at all when you are trying to promote a business.
“This should be a great arcade.
“It is a beautiful building that has been left to get into a bad shape, which is only going to keep people away.
“You hear comments from people as they go through and more often than not they are negative.”
'The problems still remain'
Six months ago a service charge was increased by 40%, which Mr Pearson said he had been told was going towards extra repairs that had been undertaken.
However, Mr Pearson said he was refusing to pay the extra charge because he had seen no evidence of where the money had been spent.
“We are not paying it because we cannot see where this money has gone.
“The problems still remain,” he said.
“They want us to foot the costs of these repairs, which is very unfair and not part of our responsibility.
“Other businesses have become so fed-up with the situation that they have spoken with their feet and moved out.”
Lambert Smith Hampton, which previously said it was company policy not to comment to the media, did not respond to a request for comment when approached by the Advertiser.
In January, the Advertiser reported how fed-up shopkeepers, plagued by break-ins and vandalism in The Arcade, wanted increased security to protect their businesses, and launched a petition.
They asked for gates to be installed to prevent night-time access.
Seven out of ten premises in The Arcade, which connects the Market Place to Cartergate, were burgled or vandalised in the seven weeks before the story.
The area is also a target for anti-social behaviour, cyclists who flout bylaws, and rough sleepers.
Eggs have been thrown at properties and sauce smeared over shop fronts.