Businesses at risk of closure from Lidl expansion face race against time to buy site

BUSINESSES under threat of being forced to leave an industrial estate have plans to buy the site.

Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 9:22 am
What the revamped Lidl at the The Apex Centre on Newgate Lane in Fareham could look like

A group of business owners at the Apex Centre off Newgate Lane in Fareham are clubbing together to buy the site in a bid to save their jobs after planning permission for a Lidl store was granted at the end of last year.

GMS Design owner Kath Searl said: ‘Buying the site would mean we could all stay in our units and it would be the best option for everyone.

‘My business has been here for 20 years and all my customers are here and we also want to take on more apprentices but at the moment it is so uncertain that we can’t.’

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The group took part in a discussion with the Solent LEP and Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage – as the site falls in her constituency - who has been helping secure a future for the businesses.

Ms Dinenage said: ‘I have spent my years encouraging local enterprise and entrepreneurship and that is why I am concerned about the prospect of losing 14 small local employers at the expense of a big international retailer with a net loss of local jobs.’

Kevin Arrowsmith owns A & S Signs and Graphics Ltd which has a unit on the industrial estate.

He said: ‘We are determined to try and buy this site so we can all keep our businesses.

‘If we all owned it together then we could grow it and create more highly skilled jobs for our area.’

The Solent LEP put the owners in touch with the Solent Growth Hub.

The landlord was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.