An angry Langney Shopping Centre trader is outraged the owner is charging rent during the closure of the centre.
The roof caved in four days before Christmas and businesses have been forced to close, lay off staff and struggle to make ends meet.
There has been frustration about the lack of news from the owners of the building London and Associated Management Services, but this week a trader from the centre said they had added ‘insult to injury’ by asking for rent.
Langney Shopping Centre trader Joanne Mckeown took to Facebook to air her grievance.
She posted, “To add insult to injury today (March 6) we were sent a letter asking for the rent to be paid for the period from January to March 2013. This really does show the kind of people we are dealing with. We have no business, no income, yet the landlords is demanding thousands of pounds. During this whole process no-one on behalf of the landlord has contacted us. We have emailed several times and have had no response. Seems that all we are good for is paying bills.
“Absolutely fed up with whole farce. Everyone is talking about reopening the centre but at this rate the tenants will all be bankrupt.”
The owners were unable to comment on the rent bill before the Herald went to press.
In addition, Langney Councillor Alan Shuttleworth has called for a greater sense of urgency and transparency from the owners.
He said, “We have waited patiently for the past two months for the report on the roof collapse, and there has also been work carried out to establish that the shop units are safe. It is time to release the findings and to start on the repair works without delay.”
He added, “I am disappointed that the information being released is telling people what they already know.”
A spokesperson from London and Associated Management Services said, “We have been in regular contact with Cllr Shuttleworth and other stakeholders with information about the centre. At present there is no news about when the centre will reopen as our engineers have not yet concluded their investigations. Whilst we appreciate many people will find this frustrating and difficult to understand there is no way to speed this process up.”
The spokesperson said the collapse of the roof happened without warning and they needed to find the cause and rule out any further risk.