Royal Victoria Place uncertainty concerns retailers

Pam Mills

UNCERTAINTY surrounding Royal Victoria Place has left retailers facing hardship and fearing closure.

Shops have deserted the Calverley Road corner with Camden Road after plans were passed for a £70million cinema and expansion project there.

This week Graham Martin, owner of Camden Road’s Victoria Snooker Centre, told the Times the situation has consequences for his family.

“I am not 100 per cent certain it is going to happen and I have that hope but the uncertainty is killing us,” he said.

“You can’t run a business on uncertainty and I am not sure if I should arrange events for later this year or not as I can’t plan more than six months in advance.”

Mr Martin said ‘Tunbridge Wells would not have a snooker club,’ if the Victoria Centre was to close.

His tables weighing several tonnes would be problematic to move and the owner said he was unlikely to find another suitable venue.

With members of his family living in the same building as the club, having to leave would be life changing.

He added: “British Land is rumoured to be launching a takeover, but I don’t know if or how that would affect things.

“We are not a massive firm and we cannot easily move somewhere else. We are a family run business and it will affect us.”

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