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Phoenix Plaza traders demand answers after being locked out of their own shops

14:03 11 August 2014

Traders at the Phoenix Plaza in Ilford who have been unable to get into their shops after the landlord was evicted last week

Traders at the Phoenix Plaza in Ilford who have been unable to get into their shops after the landlord was evicted last week

Archant

Angry traders who turned up to work to find the locks had been changed were gathered outside the building today looking for answers.

Shop owners at the Phoenix Plaza in Ilford were shocked on Friday when they were unable to open up for work.

A notice in the window of the building, dated August 7, said the “authorised agents of the landlord” had re-entered the premises and the lease had been determined.

Today, shop owners joined together outside the building, which houses more than 30 separate business units, awaiting news – after being unable to trade over the weekend.

Mahmud Abul, who owns Street Food and Juice Bar, said: “I’ve never experienced anything like this.

“Nobody’s telling us anything.”

And Marivic Obedencio, who runs Move Forward Training college, said: “I feel like this is a third world country.

“All my expensive equipment is in there, which is worrying me.”

Labake Bello, who runs Labic Textiles selling African jewellery and accessories, said: “It’s not right and it’s not fair. Nobody has told me anything. I just came here and the shop was locked.”

A spokesman for Grangetec, which has taken over the lease, said the company was hoping to reopen the building fully by tomorrow – after traders had signed new contracts.

Speaking to the Recorder at the scene earlier, he said the shop owners would have 14 days to decide whether they wanted to remain in the building.

He said traders were being allowed in to the premises after ID checks and could remove their possessions if they wished.

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