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New operator found for Retailery in Romford Market

The Retailery was located at 80-84 Market Place

A new organisation has taken over the running of the former Retailery site in Romford.

KingsHeart, a church group based in Romford, has been announced as the operator for the venue, which has a space upstairs for start-up businesses to begin working and downstairs a social and entertainment spot.

The building had been at the centre of a public argument between the local council and the not-for-profit organisation that used to run it.

Things Made Public left in January 2019 following a dispute with Havering Council over tax relief, which meant the group would have been unable to make it financially sustainable.

It asked the council to grant it discretionary rates relief but that was refused, with the council’s leader saying at the time: “There are businesses around the borough that would want to have discretionary business rate relief.

“Just because they want it doesn’t mean they are entitled to it or that the council can afford to give it to them.”

After Things Made Public left, the venue’s name was changed from The Retailery to 80-84 Market Place.

KingsHeart says it will now be called Heart & Soul and will host live music, art, and food. 

They are currently renovating the building, which will feature a baby grand piano, new sound equipment and a chandelier. The bar will also serve alcohol again. 

Steve Kitchen, from KingsHeart, said: “(The new name) reflects our hope that the community will re-embrace the venue as a creative, friendly and enjoyable place to come. If you love something a little bit different with live music, art, good food and community spirit, we know you will feel at home at Heart & Soul.”

There are plans to reintroduce a number of events that were previously popular at The Retailery, including the open mic hosted, as well as new soul, jazz and musical theatre-themed day and evenings events.

It is expected to officially launch during the third week of September.

Havering Council Leader, Damian White, said today: “The premises are currently under lease from the owners of the Liberty Shopping Centre, Cosgrove, which runs out in August 2020. Extension of this will ultimately be up to KingsHeart to negotiate. If they are unable to extend the lease with Cosgrove, KingsHeart will make sure that new premises are found so that these local businesses can continue to trade.

“This commitment is great news and we look forward to working with KingsHeart. In our view, this is the best solution, safeguarding the businesses currently housed in 80-84 Market Place for the future. It also supports our plans to support local businesses of all sizes so that we continue to have thriving town centres.”

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