2444 NE Portobello Rd market sign .jpg
Dealer Paul Dwyer has been trading from Portobello Road for the past seven years.

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Paul Dwyer has been trading on the west London street from the Chelsea Galleries for seven years and claims his contract was breached when he was not allowed access to his stall and stock during lockdown.

Dwyer, whose company is called Hop Garden Limited, has sought legal advice on the situation.

He said: “I understand we were not able to open to the public during lockdown but with social distancing in place I should have been able to access my stock to enable me to sell items online and via the telephone.

“I have paid my rent for March and April but I have been denied access on Saturdays. I am searching for a new place on Portobello Road.”

Portobello Group is landlord to around 500 dealers in arcades Chelsea Galleries, Roger’s Arcade, Teapot Arcade, The Good Fairy, Admiral Vernon, The Red Lion and Harris’s.

It planned to reopen to the public from June 20 and had been closed to the public since March.

Clear guidance

Ryan Todd from Portobello Group said: “Our typical licence agreement grants the licensee use of the premises on Saturdays only. We did not lock down business – third party influence in the form of the government did, and the guidance is clear on this.

“We have reopened for trade as soon as government guidelines have allowed us to; there is no breach of contract as far as I can see.

“Allowing individuals access during lockdown would have been both irresponsible and impractical given staffing issues, many of whom were unprepared to work given the prevalent risk.”