Threat to close Ickleton Barns
PUBLISHED: 10:15 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 31 May 2010
BAILIFFS have threatened to close a troubled retail park which would leave many businesses without shops to trade from in the run up to Christmas. The future of Ickleton Riverside Barns hangs in the balance after it was revealed that the owners have run o
BAILIFFS have threatened to close a troubled retail park which would leave many businesses without shops to trade from in the run up to Christmas.
The future of Ickleton Riverside Barns hangs in the balance after it was revealed that the owners have run out of money.
Theatre agent Stephen Cornwell, who runs his company Smile Talent from a rented unit on the site, said: "It's a terrible situation for traders and some will go out of business if the site closes. Many have invested thousands of pounds in stock for Christmas only to find out they could soon be homeless."
The full extent of Ickleton Riverside Barns' precarious situation was revealed when bailiffs arrived at the site last Tuesday and told owners they would have to cease trading because the buildings were being repossessed.
It was only through the intervention of solicitors that the bailiffs backed down and allowed the shops to stay open.
"I had rented a second unit which I was planning to renovate and use for theatre training," said Mr Cornwell, who has been on the site for a year, "but now it's sitting empty because I won't spend money on it if the site is closing - it's a big waste of money."
Ickleton Riverside Barns, on Frogge Street, is a three-acre countryside retail park between Ickleton and Great Chesterford. Two businesses have already closed because of the site's uncertain future and 10 are still trading.
The businesses include an arts and crafts shop, a hairdresser, a café, a bookshop, a bag seller, a party shop, a children's clothes retailer, a printers, a gas services company and a theatre agent.
"Some of the businesses have been here for more than four years and they are extremely worried," said Mr Cornwell. "Business has already been affected because many people in the villages think we are closed already. The café has been as dead as a dodo for a while.
"We've been treated appallingly - we don't know what's happening and the site is no longer being maintained."
The on-site house, belonging to the owners of Ickleton Riverside Barns, has been repossessed. Royal Bank of Scotland has been appointed as administrators and has put the site up for sale.
Owners Tina and Stuart London were not available for comment as the Reporter went to press.
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