Business owners at Preston’s historic Oyston Mill have been told that they have just nine days before electricity at the building is set to be cut off.
Businesses at the complex in Strand Road, Preston, were issued with letters from nPower yesterday morning stating that electricity to the whole building was being cut off “due to non payment”.
The building is owned by Owen Oyston, the majority owner of Blackpool Football Club.
But Mr Oyston said the disconnection threat is just a mix up with his bank accounts, and says he will pay the electricity bill.
Liz Hodson has run Transport Models from Oyston Mill for the last 18 years, one of the largest suppliers of model railway kits and bits in the north of England.
Liz said: “We’re flabbergasted. We’ve been here for 18 years – we’ve not just moved in.
“There’s £400,000 of stock here that we will need to sell or move.
“We operate on a monthly licence which means they can give us one month’s notice to leave – but will we now have to start packing up because we need to find somewhere and somewhere soon?
“We don’t know what to do now.”
Liz, 83, revealed that they pay rent to Denwis Ltd, a company Mr Oyston is director of.
Paul Woroszczuk has operated New Leaf furniture and upholstery business from the mill since 2008.
Paul said: “It’s terrible. I can understand if we had one month’s notice but to hear this not from [the landlord] but from nPower...it’s a kick in the teeth.
“Business is just starting to pick up in the run up to Christmas as well. It’s a complete disgrace.”
Dave Wilson has run Interdec Fireplaces from Oyston Mill since 1984.
Dave revealed: “The contract we have works both ways.” That means it works on a rolling one-month licence that can be stopped at the end of each cycle.
But the 55-year-old added: “We are quite literally being left in the dark. As soon as the electric is off we can’t have anyone come in. In effect without any electricity we can’t open our doors.
“We’re somewhat of a seasonal industry too, so we’re about to get busier now summer is over.”
Dave is also fearful that wannabe thieves might target the location without any electricity to power the alarm system.
Speaking to the Post, Owen Oyston said that the issue had arisen because the bank account used to pay bills for Oyston Mill was frozen as part of the ongoing legal battle with former Blackpool FC director Valeri Belokon.
He said: “We have not been able to send payments to the account. We have £100,000 waiting to be paid into the account for the mill.
“We are going to pay off the arrears on behalf of all the unit holders.”