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Romford's The Retailery set to close next year due to rejection of Havering Council funding application

PUBLISHED: 23:21 04 December 2018

The Retailery is set to close next year. Picture: Jon Paul Ladd 2015

The Retailery is set to close next year. Picture: Jon Paul Ladd 2015

Jon Paul Ladd 2015

The “heartbreaking” decision to close down The Retailery in 2019 has been announced tonight after being refused necessary funding.

The Retailery is set to close next year. Picture: Jon Paul Ladd 2015The Retailery is set to close next year. Picture: Jon Paul Ladd 2015

The Retailery, a co-working space for new businesses, which sits in the heart of Romford Market, has been up and running for the past two years and won the title of best after work venue at last week’s Havering Nightlife Awards, announced its future closure on Facebook tonight.

To date the not-for-profit organisation, run by CIC (Community Interest Company) Things Made Public, has provided a platform for more than 200 performers from the borough, supported and subsidised more than 40 independent businesses, provided more than 400 hours of free business support and created 64 jobs.

A spokeswoman of The Retailery said: “Things Made Public CIC is a local, not-for-profit organisation that is passionate about culture, community and entrepreneurship.

“They want to make the borough in which they all grew up, went to school and subsequently still live, a more vibrant and inclusive place to be.

“Tired of seeing so many talented, local people and entrepreneurs disburse into neighbouring London boroughs due to a lack of opportunity, affordable work space and cultural activity, Things Made Public were delighted when £200,000 of GLA funding to Havering Council and even more elated when they were appointed partners in the delivery of what has evolved into The Retailery.

“From sanding the bar down during the build to supporting the tenants (and now friends) as their businesses grow and flourish, every element of The Retailery has been delivered with love, hope and excitement at seeing real change in Romford town.

“However, fresh from their win at the Havering Night Life Awards, which was voted for by the community, Things Made Public CIC feel they can no longer hide the truth from their customers and friends.

“As of February 2019, The Retailery, and the space as you know it, is set to change beyond all recognition.

“Things Made Public CIC are incredibly proud to have been instrumental in creating and providing a space that is held in such high esteem by the local community.”

For the past two years, The Retailery has relied on the original funding provided to them by the GLA and its future was reliant on Havering Council granting discretionary rates relief to the organisation.

The local authority is set to receive a total of £1,696,000.00 from the government’s Discretionary Rate Relief Scheme between 2017 - 2021 to aid local businesses facing such challenges.

But having submitted an application for the funding in order to save the The Retailery, Things Made Public CIC was rejected.

In a letter addressed to the team, Havering Council said:

“Whilst your organisation provides a useful service to members of the community, the council is unable to grant relief on this occasion. “As you will appreciate the council does not have the financial ability to support every laudable organisation.”

The spokeswoman added: Sadly, it is this decision that has forced Things Made Public CIC to surrender their plans to take on the lease, which is a heart breaking decision for the locally based team to make.

“Things Made Public CIC have loved being part of the community and getting to know their customers and tenants and are absolutely devastated to be part of this awful trend in which independent businesses are forced off the high street by government policies.

“They would like to thank all of their loyal customers for their support over the last two years and hope to see a lot of familiar faces over the coming weeks as they celebrate the forthcoming festive season and make this Christmas one to remember.”

Havering Council has been contacted for a comment.

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