The Money Shop, Cuxton Road, Strood
Medway Council has leased a shop to a payday lender despite campaigning against them.
The Money Shop, whose annual interest rates top 2,400%, has signed a 10-year-lease on the unit in Cuxton Road, Strood.
The deal came long after a council task group recommended a flood of measures to stop lenders opening up, including new planning laws.
And it comes the week by council leader Rodney Chambers (Con) said payday loan adverts could be banned from Medway’s billboards and bus stops.
A council spokesman said officers had no choice because The Money Shop’s tenancy was already agreed when they bought the building.
However, Land Registry records show the council bought the shop unit in April 2008 and the firm remained, signing a new 10-year lease almost five years later on March 18 this year.
Medway Labour group leader Cllr Vince Maple has written to Cllr Chambers saying the rules should be changed.
“My concern is that the council has no policy at the moment on whether it houses payday lenders,” he said. “
I’ve written to the leader and deputy leader asking that we don’t let properties out to businesses of that type.”
A Money Shop spokesman hit out at Cllr Maple’s views.
“We’re a perfectly legitimate, licenced, regulated business,” he said. “It would seem odd to prevent us from carrying out our trade particularly when high streets are struggling.”
Medway Council originally bought the shop so it could be demolished to make way for Strood road improvements.
But they never happened and it is now due to be auctioned next month, with the lease intact, increasing the price the council may get for it.
A council spokesman said: “When the council bought the property it was already let to a money lender on the basis of a secure tenancy, and was bought subject to this tenancy.
“As the property is no longer required for demolition the council has no legal right to require the tenant to leave the property.”