Matlock fruit and veg stall to close after decades of trading due to town centre cinema development
A greengrocers stall which has traded in Matlock for decades is to close next week after Derbyshire Dales District Council withdrew its licence to make way for the new cinema development.
Jackson’s Fresh Fruit & Veg will depart from outside the Market Hall, on Bakewell Road, on May 1, to become a farm shop and delivery business based in Clay Cross.
Simon Jackson who took over the business with wife Wendy in 2001 after joining it 20 years earlier aged 12, said: “I’d much rather stay in Matlock and keep on trading. It’s a successful business that has served the community – especially in the last year. It leaves a bad taste.
“My kids, who now work in the business, have grown up with a lot of our customers and we have a good rapport with everyone. Some like coming just for that social contact and they will lose that.”
He added: “There are just no other suitable units in the town centre right now. This location was ideal as its sheltered but outside – perfect for the plants and flowers we sell.
“The council says the only alternative premises it could offer was near the train station – but it has been empty ever since it was built, which says a lot for the amount of footfall it gets. It would be a waste of time.”
As well as everyday shoppers, the business supplies many of Matlock’s pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses, with annual turnover currently in the region of £700,000.
Simon estimates the closure will see trade drop by up to 50 per cent and he has been forced to make one member of staff redundant.
Simon said: “It’s a loss to us but we’ve got to keep moving forward as best we can. Never say never, we’ll keep looking if any suitable location comes up in town.
“I don’t expect all our regular customers to travel to Clay Cross every week but hopefully some will follow us and others will order home deliveries. We’ll look to increase our catering orders.”
The plans to redevelop the Market Hall as a cinema and leisure complex originally made space for two shop units which were then discarded due to a funding shortfall.
The council has agreed to pay Simon compensation of around £20,000 but the process has been a legal battle for much of the past year.
A spokesman for the district council said: “We have maintained regular contact with the stallholder since initial options were first developed for the Market Hall and engaged with them at each stage of the process.
"Other stallholders vacated the under-utilised premises some time ago, but, in developing options for the site, the council’s ambition was to retain this last remaining business in Matlock.”
They added: “The option of alternative space within the draft layout was discussed with the stallholder at an early stage, and alternative district council premises available within the town were also offered – but unfortunately these were not of interest to the stallholder either. Other vacant commercial premises within the town centre were also discussed, but these too were ruled out by the business.
“After long and good natured negotiations both the stallholder and the council have expressed a mutual desire to part on the best of terms and ultimately it has been their decision to relocate the business away from Matlock.”
For information on home deliveries from Jackson’s go to
www.jacksonsfruitandveg.co.uk or call 07773 864734.
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