The Mayor of Watford has repeated the message that the council acted as quickly as it could to save New Watford Market.

A contract was awarded to Watford Borough Council to take control of the market on August 1 after it emerged the operators Town & Country Markets (TCM) were in “severe financial difficulties”.

The council says TCM’s financial situation came to light earlier this year but it stresses that only when it found out TCM had put forward a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that it became fully aware of what was going on.

The council has confirmed that TCM owe £74,658.29, which includes both unpaid rent and unpaid business rates. The council says it is still actively chasing payment.

READ MORE: Race is on to find new market operator

Mayor Taylor said the running costs for the six month period the council has to run the market cannot be given, but the income and expenditure will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

Mayor Taylor’s comments come after Labour councillor Nigel Bell questioned how long the council were aware of TCM’s financial situation.

Cllr Bell added that many people were concerned at the way the market was moved from Charter Place and questioned what will happen to the market now, as well as the financial implications.

The market will continue to operate in the same place. The council says it does not have the manpower to run the market for a period longer than six months, adding it does not have staff that can move from current jovs to run a market. The council has already begun the process of finding a new operator.

Mayor Taylor said: “The council was aware that TCM was having financial difficulties although the extent of these were not clear until TCM applied for a company voluntary arrangement to manage its debts. Following this, the decision was made to swiftly take back control of Watford Market. This was the responsible thing to do to secure its future and has been welcomed by traders.

“Day-to-day, neither traders nor customers will notice any difference. We have short-term measures in place for the management of the market. In the meantime, we will make sure traders and residents are regularly updated.”

“Watford is a market town and I am determined to keep it that way.”