AN MP has called for a meeting between supermarket bosses and a council in a bid to save over 70 jobs.
Businesses at an industrial estate in Newgate Lane between Gosport and Fareham are concerned for the future after supermarket chain Lidl announced plans for a new store on the site.
And Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is also against the plans that would see 14 firms forced from their premises at the Apex Centre.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘I have deep concerns about the expansion of a global chain at the expense of the 14 small local businesses at the Apex Centre.
‘It would mean a net loss of jobs for the Gosport constituency, where economic regeneration, job creation and new enterprise have been my absolute priorities.’
‘I have contacted Lidl bosses, Fareham Borough Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership to request a meeting to address support for affected businesses.’
The Apex Centre has offices and workshops for a range of engineering firms and design companies.
Andrew Coote’s engineering firm, Coote Vibratory Co Ltd, has been established for 70 years.
Andrew said: ‘I suggest Lidl look for a more suitable site to expand into instead of helping with the demise of Small British manufacturing companies.
‘There has been no provision made to relocate the 14 businesses and no comparable premises available to protect these 70 highly skilled British jobs.’
The proposals include demolition of the existing Lidl store on Newgate Lane.
Director of A & S Signs & Graphics Ltd, Kevin Arrowsmith said: ‘There are not enough units in the borough to accommodate the businesses that are going to be removed by Lidl’s new development.
‘Many of these businesses will be forced to close. Lidl should have a social responsibility to the areas they trade in.’
In response to the backlash from the businesses, a spokesperson for Lidl said: ‘Whilst we have naturally been disappointed with some of the negative feedback circulating as a result of our proposal, we would like to take the opportunity to reassure the local community that our existing and future customers are at the heart of our decision making.
‘Not only would a new store secure future jobs and employment, it will enable us to significantly enhance our customer’s shopping experience and improve facilities, which we know are incredibly important to them.’