Fareham businesses fear for future as Lidl store set to go ahead
THE Court of Appeal has upheld the decision by Fareham Borough Council to allow Lidl to demolish an industrial estate - with business owners fearing for their livelihoods.
Fareham Borough Council has given permission for Lidl to demolish its current store off Newgate Lane, secure the adjacent land, and build a bigger store.
The High Court had rejected an application for a judicial review of the council's planning decision by Kevin Arrowsmith, owner of A & S Signs and Graphics Ltd at the threatened Apex Centre.
Now Mr Arrowsmith's appeal against the High Court’s decision had been thrown out - and he says businesses at the centre will be ‘gone’ soon unless his MP takes up the issue.
He said: 'Our future and our businesses are gone unless our MP fulfils her commitment and we have still have a chance.’
Mr Arrowsmith has previously asked for support from Caroline Dinenage, the MP for Gosport, in the hope she will raise the issue with Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Ms Dinenage said: 'I took the matter with Lidl as far as it could go.
'We met with the landowner, the tenants of the site and the Solent Enterprise Partnership to see if we could find alternative locations for the supermarket.
'I understand Mr Arrowsmith's frustrations but we have done all we can to dissuade Lidl from pursuing this direction.
'My concern is that there are so few alternative sites for small businesses to go to in that area'
All 14 industrial units were occupied with businesses when Lidl submitted its application in 2017 - with just eight now remaining, according to Mr Arrowsmith.
Gary Searle GMS Design Ltd also expressed concern about the impact of the decision.
He said: 'I have invested £1.2 million in the business over a decade, and I employees 12 jobs.
'Now I’m looking for somewhere else to go, with £100,000 cost to move the machines.
'And employees have said they would not move with us.
'My boys are asking me what’s going to happen – they’re worried about their jobs.'