New home for car boot

Jim Watkins and Jerome O'Malley who want to run a car boot sale at the Arena.
Jim Watkins and Jerome O'Malley who want to run a car boot sale at the Arena.
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SHEFFIELD’S first commercial car boot sale to be held in three years is moving to a new home – after a dispute over ‘astronomical’ fees charged by the Motorpoint Arena.

Yorkshire Car Boots started sales in the car park of the Attercliffe venue in April, and they were held every Sunday unless other events were on.

But James Watkins, who runs the firm, said the arena had set its charges too high and the car boot sales held so far were not yet busy enough to cover the costs.

The last sale was held at the arena on Sunday, June 19. The events will be relaunched on July 24 at Owlerton Stadium, where Mr Watkins has arranged a cheaper deal.

He said: “We have pulled out of our arrangement with the Motorpoint Arena because we were being asked to pay an astronomical amount of rent. To begin with, they asked us to pay £2,000 a time.

“Although the arena reduced the rent to £1,600, we were not busy enough to cover the cost and were losing money.”

Mr Watkins said the first two sales attracted 160, and then 240 cars, and crowds of 3,500 people – but the numbers of sellers then dropped to just 85 booters at the last sale nearly a fortnight ago.

Yorkshire Car Boots were the first to take advantage of a change in policy by Sheffield Council to allow commercial companies to organise car boot sales after they were previously prohibited.

The city had not seen a car boot sale since May 2008, when Blonk Street car boot ceased trading after the council sold the land.

The change in policy means companies can apply to hold a car boot sale on privately-owned land.

Simon Bailey, marketing manager at the Motorpoint Arena, said: “The terms by which we hire our facilities are commercially sensitive and are not up for discussion by the arena.

“The promoter of the car boot event is, by mutual consent, no longer trading out of the venue as it was no longer a viable proposition.”