Shop owner’s concern after safety rules impact business

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HEALTH and safety regulations are crippling a historic market shop’s business, according to its owner, who has been accused by the government of ‘failing to meet a basic obligation of the lease’.

Red Triangle Stores, which has been trading since the 1930s, was owned by the family of former States Member John Farley from 1952 until it was sold by his family to the current owner, Sheila Baudains, in 2015.

However, a dispute with ministers over market regulations has led to concern for the shop’s long-term future.

Ms Baudains said that the store has recently been prevented from displaying stock against the market railings, something which it had done for many decades, owing to a health and safety regulation which requires 1.8m of clear space for people to traverse.

This is chiefly a safety measure in the event of a fire. As a result, Red Triangle Stores has been forced to move its stock out of the pathway and closer to the store.

The shop owner claims that she was told that if this issue was not resolved, her lease would not be renewed.

Rosanne Louis, who works in Red Triangle Stores, said: ‘We had people coming in asking “so are you closed?”.

‘People are used to seeing it all laid out and they browse – sales have gone right down.’

Ms Baudains added: ‘It’s had a real knock on the business. I left one morning and, by the time I came back at 12.30pm, we hadn’t even taken £100.’

She said that she had consulted fire safety officers who she says told her that her previous arrangement was well within Jersey regulations.

Red Triangle Stores, Central Market (35379167)

According to Ms Baudains, the store needs £20,000-worth of maintenance to its wiring, which she was told would be undertaken by the market.

She said: ‘Before Covid, I was trying to build up the business – building it up, building it up, building it up. I wanted the shop to be like it was. We always like to say that the only thing you can’t get is the kitchen sink.

‘But things have one downhill from there. I’ve kept prices as low as I can, but where I am now I don’t know if I’m going to be able to provide the same service.’

She added that she had been in contact with Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet and Economic Development Minister Deputy Kirsten Morel about the issue. When asked to comment on the situation, Deputy Binet said: ‘I was pleased to meet many of the tenants recently as we’re just starting out on an exciting project to revitalise the markets.

‘The stallholders do excellent work there, and the majority are exemplary in the way they comply with the terms of their leases.

‘Red Triangle Stores is the only remaining stallholder in the market that is failing to meet a basic obligation of their lease. This is despite a number of visits over several months from several ministers and senior officers, all of whom offered help and support. Red Triangle Stores has still failed to comply.

‘As the landlord, the government has a clear duty to ensure basic standards of maintenance are met so that customers and other stallholders’ safety is ensured.

‘Currently there is only one outstanding issue with Red Triangle, which we are hoping can be resolved in the next couple of weeks.’

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