Havering Council has found a new operator to take on the management of the former Retailery – 80-84 Market Place.

The new operator, KingsHeart, is a church group based in Romford who have a strong track record in running another premises, holding community events and mentoring businesses to help them grow. 

KingsHeart will look to build on the current level of trade by running a number of events in the premises. They will also build on the business support offer for new start-ups and work with the businesses currently located upstairs in the premises to develop them further and help them grow. 

This new arrangement was agreed by Senior Officers and Cabinet Members at a meeting earlier this week.

The Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Damian White, said: 

“When the former operators pulled out of the Retailery, now 80-84 Market Place, we stepped in to safeguard the businesses currently located in the premises. When this happened, we promised to find a new operator to take over, and we are pleased to announce that this will be KingsHeart”.

“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 KingHeart. 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.”

KingsHeart’s Steve Kitchen explained their plans for the venue:

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Havering Council in the regeneration of 80-84 Market Place.  Its new name - Heart & Soul - 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.”

Highlighting the popularity of the venue during its time as the Retailery, KingsHeart plans to reintroduce a number of the previous events including popular evenings such as the open mic hosted by PMT (Romford), as well as new soul, jazz and musical theatre themed day and evenings events. 

KingsHeart is putting significant investment into the property and is currently in the process of recommissioning the bar and coffee facilities, installing a professional sound, stage and light set up, as well as a new baby grand piano, which it hopes will be a popular attraction for budding local pianists. 

Published: 29 August 2019