Popular Manchester street food trader Salt and Pepper has announced it will be closing its stall in the Arndale market in the next three weeks.
The modern Chinese street food stall, which specialises in everything salt and pepper and regularly draws huge queues at lunchtime, blamed ‘limited facilities’ and a lack of extraction (needed to remove cooking fumes) at the market for its abrupt departure.
In a post shared to its social media channels over the weekend, the food traders turned their ire on Manchester City Council – who run the market – claiming bosses had refused to renew their lease unless they invest ‘upwards of £100,000’ to install their own extraction system.
According to the post, which has already been liked over 3,000 times, the council has claimed improving the extraction is the trader’s responsibility, not theirs, citing the popularity of the stall.
The post read: “It is with a broken heart that we’re announcing that our Arndale Market Stall will be permanently closing on April 2nd.
“Due to the limited facilities in the Arndale Market, we’re no longer able to keep trading in this space. If you’ve been to the market, you’d know, there’s isn’t much of an extraction system on our side (to expel smoke & smells) and the Council (who run the market) have said it’s our responsibility to fix this because of the popularity of our stall.
“The Council have said they’re unwilling to renew our lease unless we invest upwards of £100,000 to put in our own extraction system, with additional costs that they couldn’t tell us unless we accepted to pay the £100k.
“It doesn’t seem fair really, but it’s safe to say that it’s time for us to move on.
“We’ve been absolutely gutted, and we’ve spent the past few months trying to figure out how to keep our amazing staff employed and our business dreams alive.
“We never thought we’d have to end our time in the Market so abruptly but, we’re hopeful al is not lost, and we’re excited to move on to the next stage of our business.”
Hinting at plans to open a place of their own in the ‘near future’, owners reassured fans that in the meantime they will be able to get their lunchtime fix at Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter from April 6.
“They’ve kindly let us to open from 12pm every day (legends) and we will make sure the food and service matches our standards in the Arndale. Deliveroo will also still be available all day,” the post continued.
Salt and Pepper’s stall is based on the newer south side of the street food market, which was expanded into in 2019.
Prior to the expansion, this part of the Arndale Extension was once exclusively home to retail stalls – but May 2019 heralded the arrival of five new food traders: Blue Caribou Poutine, Hong Thai, Holy Crab, Kuku and Intoku in Japanese.
Salt and Pepper moved in a week or so later, taking over the vacant La Bandera stall, and have been in residence pretty much ever since – give or take a short period of closure warranted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now it appears their time is officially coming to an end, but this will certainly not be the last we hear of them.
A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “Salt and Pepper have become so successful that our current extraction system is not capable of handling the level of smoke that originates from their stall, which posed a health and safety risk for other traders in the market.
“We have been working with the company since late 2020 to try and supply an improved extraction system. Manchester City Council deny the claims that Salt and Pepper have been asked to pay £100k for this.
“We considered several options, including offering alternative trading locations. Nevertheless, it was decided that we could not offer Salt and Pepper a new lease on Health and Safety grounds.
“We have supported Salt and Pepper by allowing them to trade for a period of time on a licence whilst they found alternative arrangements and wish them luck in their future endeavours.”
To keep up with Salt and Pepper’s moves over the coming months as they transition into their new home, give Salt and Pepper a follow on Instagram here.
Feature image – Salt and Pepper
Warning after terrifying video shows party decorations catching fire in a Manchester bar – again
Fire crews in Greater Manchester are warning bars and restaurants to be careful after footage emerged of party decorations catching fire above customers’ heads.
In just seconds, the entire ceiling is ablaze, with terrified customers scrambling for the exit.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service released the video in a bid to raise awareness and prevent any similar incidents at hospitality venues in the city-region.
The shocking incident occurred in a shisha bar in Rusholme, in May this year.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but several people were taken to hospital with suspected burns.
In both this instance and in the One Eight Six incident, the cause of the blaze was determined as being ‘indoor fireworks igniting decorations, which then burned rapidly allowing the fire to spread’.
GMFRS is now working with licensing teams from the 10 councils in Greater Manchester to offer free information and advice sessions to owners and managers of cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants in advance of the Halloween, World Cup and the Christmas party season.
Leon Parkes, GMFRS’s director of prevention and protection, said: “Hospitality venues have a responsibility to keep their customers and staff safe and at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service we want to help businesses to understand their legal responsibilities and take action to protect their property, staff and customers from fire.
“We have seen a couple of instances in the past year in Manchester where fires have broken out in venues caused by indoor fireworks setting light to decorations.
“While fortunately fires don’t occur very often, the impact of a fire can be devastating and many businesses don’t recover.
“Pubs, bars and other venues will be very, very busy during October, November and December. It’s important that staff prepare by getting trained in what they need to do and that they don’t inadvertently create a fire risk.
“We know that the last two years have been really difficult for hospitality businesses and hopefully the forthcoming World Cup and Christmas period will be a boost for them. We gave out fire safety advice in May last year as Covid-19 restrictions eased and we are now working with our partners to help hospitality businesses be safe and stay safe.”
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.