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The future is bleak for antiques traders
A FLEDGLING antiques market looks set to close.
The Leigh Antique Shabby Chic Art and Craft Centre, based at the Elm Works factory, in Leigh, is living on borrowed time after its boss revealed he was unlikely to be able to renew the lease.
Matthew Allen signed a six- month deal in November, later extended by another two months, to use the building for antiques and furniture traders.
However, plans to convert the building into a dance studio have now been revived after an eight-month hiatus, causing Mr Allen to fear he will have to move out by the end of June.
He said: “We are just a small business, but we have been doing well.
“We’ve gained a lot of custom over the last few months and we now have ten traders here and more wanting to join. We all want to stay.”
Last summer, Amanda Restell, who runs the Amanda Restell Dance Academy in nearby Elm Road, applied for permission to convert the factory into a dance studio for her 600 pupils.
That bid was rejected by council chiefs, who ruled the empty building could create more jobs if it was restored as an industrial factory.
But a fresh application has now been given the go-ahead after Ms Restell proved her academy would employ 12 staff initially, and possibly another three if it continued to expand.
Mr Allen was granted the six-month lease, extended in April, to use the empty building while Ms Restell finalised her plans.
However, until further surveys and contractual details have been completed, Ms Restell has stressed she is unsure if the move will definitely go ahead and said the traders had always been aware of the situation.
She said: “It was made very clear from the start that this was a temporary arrangement.
“I have followed the correct legal procedures in everything I have done, so I do not see how there can be any complaints.
“I just want to provide a dance school that serves the local community and gives children the opportunity to learn.”