Birkdale Trading Estate issues highlight a
growing national problem
THIS year we have had several issues reported to us about
a growing concern for small businesses, not just in this area, but nationally.
The issues are related to property, or should we say lack of property, along
with the lack of help available for many small businesses to be able to buy
property. Increasingly small businesses are finding rents escalating, alongside
pressures of increasing wages and business rates. These and other hidden costs,
including water and electricity, are having a devastating effect on our high
This is well known, but there is also an insidious issue which is having an
effect on businesses who use trading states. With the increasing search for land
for housing, exerting pressure on small land owners, many trading estates are
vanishing, taking with them a number of start up businesses and often jobs. The
small businesses individually might not employ many people, but when added up,
they form a significant part of our job market. A small business on a trading
estate might grow to become the next major market leader.
Most of ur small inventions that have lead to huge things have started with a
small manufacturer on a trading estate or local small unit industrial estate.
For that reason these places play a major role in both the current and future
economics of a community and perhaps of our country.
Sadly, if a small business has to move, there is shockingly very little
financial legal or logistical support. Big businesses have financial clout and
experienced staff to facilitate moving a business. Often they also have Councils
or maybe even Governments moving heaven and earth to help secure new premises,
yet small businesses do not have this ability, or availability of cash. For that
reason if they do have to move, the problems are amazinglyhigh. For small
businesses, the loss of rented accommodation can break them, as many find
impossible to locate new premises. Often they incur massive overheads, from
legal bills sorting out new agreements, insurance issues, and redirection of
mail; phone contracts are often affected, in some cases a new number has to be
issued, leading to more problems... How do customers find them? They will then
be required to do new advertisements, change letterheads, signage, website
updates, Facebook, Google, Twitter and the list goes on and on. All these
increase there overhead costs, and thus perhaps less attractive to banks and
Birkdale Trading Estate has had many thriving small businesses operating there
for many years. These businesses offered skilled jobs and good wages. Sadly the
land has recently be sold to Aldi who are going to build on the site in the next
few months. This resulted in the loss of premises for those businesses that had
been located on the estate. The new store will bring in 30 to 50 new jobs, but
the knock on effect will be quite significant. In addition to being able to
offer a large range of cheap foods, the store will have a 100 vehicle plus
parking area, whereas the local shops near the development have suffer from only
having on street parking. So many of them are now going to face a harder future.
The closure or moving of the businesses located on the estate, has had a
devastating effect on the local job market. As 1 of the businesses who has been
forced out has said:- "Yes, the store brings in new jobs, but they are
just retail jobs. You lose far more; as it's a national firm, it loses money
that would be kept locally, from the local community. But what has shocked us
the most is the fact we have had no support! We only got 3 month's notice and
the lack of available property to rent, lack of support from the Council, lack
of support from the banks and the list goes on, is shocking... More than ever,
with Brexit looming, we need to support local businesses and encourage them to
develop. Big firms just like the banks, will and do pull out of the UK at a
whim, yet people forget that local manufacturing and local small business are
what keeps the country moving. Yet when we need help, we just do not get it!"
At this point we have to say that Aldi has made an unprecedented payment to
Sefton to help fund the building of new business units, but this has not helped
the traders who have had to move off the estate.
We contacted Councillor Simon Shaw, a Lib Dem councillor for Birkdale Ward, who
has expressed concern over the way that traders have been treated recently. He
said:- "The businesses who used to be here had a reasonable expectation of
being able to carry on without being forced off. After all, this land was zoned
as a trading estate and this was confirmed in the recent Local Plan process,
which included a lengthy Public Enquiry. Some businesses, especially those
involved in light engineering, have been facing significant costs in relocating;
effectively through no fault of their own. That's why, on Tuesday, I asked
Sefton's Chief Planning Officer whether a small part of the ₤723,000 that Sefton
Council is receiving from Aldi could be used to provide some modest compensation
to those traders suffering from exceptional relocation costs. Unfortunately I
was told that this was not possible."
This we think shows just how little planning is given to the accommodation and
support of small businesses. As one of the affected traders said to us:-
"Its OK saying buy local, but when you can't sell local how do you expect the
public to buy local?"
We are doing a bigger report on this very soon and would like to know if your
business has ever been affected like those formally housed on Birkdale Trading
Please email us to:-
News24@SouthportReporter.Com with your thoughts
on this topic.
A Police appeal following a Burglary on Park
MERSEYSIDE Police Detectives are appealing for any
information to be passed on to them following a burglary at a house in
Southport. We are told that unknown offenders entered the house on Park Road,
between 5.30pm, on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 and 7am, on Thursday, 20 July 2017.
They then carried out an untidy search of the house before stealing a quantity
of jewellery including:- a gold locket and wedding rings and a set of
collectors' item, Tin Tin books. An Apple tablet, a TV and 2 laptops, together
with a distinctive Freitag Laptop Bag along with a quantity of power tools were
also taken. An investigation is underway and house to house enquiries are
ongoing in the local area. Officers have also released images of some of the
stolen items in a bid to locate them. Anyone who may have witnessed the burglary
or has any information as to the whereabouts of any of the stolen items is asked
to contact Merseyside Police on:- 0151 777 3931 or call Crimestoppers
anonymously on:- 0800 555 111.
PQA Southport Rocked Shaftesbury Theatre
THE students from Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts in
Southport dazzled their family and friends with a spectacular performance of PQA's show:- 'The Lazy Ace' that took place on Sunday, 16 July
2017! As part of PQA's curriculum, the students have the opportunity to perform
at Shaftesbury Theatre London, and get to experience the thrill and buzz of
performing on a West End Stage!
'The Lazy Ace' is a musical comedy set on the glitzy, glamourous
Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s; Detective Chip Buddy is in search of a card shark
known as:- 'The Lazy Ace' amongst the hustle and bustle of the
casino scene. PQA Southport had the freedom to be as imaginative and creative
with their part of the show as they like, from the casting, staging and
The Principal from PQA Southport Sarah Barnes said:- "The
students should be so proud of all their hard work leading up to the show. Their
professionalism, their confidence on stage and how their lines were delivered to
perfection resembles the highest West End Stage performer. Above all the
students had fun and absolutely loved performing to a sell out crowd."
With another 11 performances of 'The Lazy Ace'
scheduled for 2017, PQA students continue to take the West End by storm!
For more information visit:-
BBC Children in Need awards ₤106,000 in
new funding to Southport
BBC Children in Need has awarded Southport a further
₤106,863 to support a project working with disadvantaged children and young
people in the Town. This latest boost of funding, from the charity's Main Grants
programme, brings the total currently invested in Sefton to more than ₤769,000.
The newly awarded grant comes as BBC Children in Need celebrates its highest
ever fundraising total; ₤60m was raised during the charity's 2016 appeal. The
record breaking total is the culmination of the efforts of every single person
across the UK who supported the charity in 2016. The money raised will go
towards projects that work with children and young people who are affected by a
range of disadvantages including those affected by homelessness, neglect,
deprivation and poverty or young people who are encountering a serious illness
or bereavement. In the last year alone BBC Children in Need has been able to
positively impact over 480,000 young lives in communities throughout the UK.
Home Start Southport and Formby will use the grant, over 3 years, to deliver
the 'Play to Learn' project to children who are facing a range of disadvantages
and live in an area of deprivation. The funding will enable the project to train
volunteers who will work with children and their families in their own home to
deliver play and early years learning activities which will help to encourage
positive relationships between parent and child, develop the children's
emotional health and wellbeing and improve their development.
Annie Ives, Manager at Home Start Southport and Formby said:- "It's
fantastic news to hear that our funding from BBC Children in Need will continue
for a further 3 years. With this we'll be able to continue working with some of
the most isolated children in our community and make a positive difference to
their early year's development."
Speaking of the new grants, Isabel Farnell, BBC Children in Need Regional Head
of the North said:- "We're delighted to be supporting Home-Start Southport
and Formby which will work with disadvantaged children and young people in the
local community and make a difference to their lives."
Speaking of the news, Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need
said:- "These grants would not have been possible had it not been for the
incredible support shown across the UK in 2016. To everyone who fundraised and
donated in 2016, thank you, the money raised really will go on to make a huge
difference to children and young people throughout the UK who need it most."