Fareham Lidl bombshell: '˜We don't know what the future holds for everyone's businesses'

BUSINESS owners are '˜disappointed' after plans that will demolish an industrial estate to build a new supermarket were passed.

Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 6:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 7:05 pm
What the Lidl at The Apex Centre in Fareham will look like

More than 70 skilled jobs will be lost at the Apex Centre on Newgate Lane following Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee approval of Lidl supermarket’s application for a larger store.

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

He said: ‘I am disappointed but we all knew what the result would be.

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‘We don’t know what the future holds for everyone’s business.’

Some businesses in the Apex Centre have already closed down due to the financial cost of moving but during the meeting Lidl UK’s regional head of property James Mitchell said the firm would provide ‘professional surveyors’ to help the businesses relocate.

A spokesperson for Lidl said: ‘We will continue to work closely with council and the current site owner, Rookery Estates, to address previous concerns raised and ensure that the transition has minimal impact on existing tenants.

‘Where it’s required to serve notice, proposed measures to support them include a lengthened notice period and the provision and funding of a local property professional to act on their behalf, helping them to achieve the best terms for a lease on a new premises, whilst enabling them to focus on their day to day business.

GMS Design Ltd has been running in Fareham for over 20 years and director Katherine Searl is ‘unsure’ her business will survive.

She said: ‘I don’t know what we are going to do as our equipment would need to be moved by machine which will be expensive, and not to mention in the moving process we would lose income.

‘The council is letting a large business bulldoze our small businesses.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was against the plans and previously arranged a meeting between Lidl bosses and Fareham Borough Council in a bid to save the jobs.

Ms Dinenage said: ‘While welcoming Lidl’s proposed investment in the Gosport constituency, I still have concerns about the future of the 14 small businesses at the Apex Centre.

‘I have met representatives from Lidl, the Apex Centre landlords, the council and the LEP to discuss what support can be offered to the businesses over the weeks ahead and will continue to pursue this until a satisfactory outcome is secured.’

The decision for the application was supported by six councillors with three councillors against.