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Monday, 28 July 2014

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More shops shut in Whitehaven

WHITEHAVEN is losing three high street shops and a supermarket could also be under threat.

King Street’s Yeomans Outdoor Leisure shut up shop at the weekend while fashion retailer Evans confirmed its town store is closing on February 23.

Also this week film rental chain Blockbuster announced its Whitehaven shop will close in the coming weeks with staff facing redundancies.

And now Lidl, on the Bridges Retail Park, is up for sale, it has been revealed.

A spokeswoman said the Whitehaven store is currently being marketed but there was no “definitive offer of purchase at this time and therefore the store will continue to trade as normal”.

The staff have been informed and will be offered the opportunity to relocate to another Lidl store. “Lidl are actively searching for suitable locations within Cumbria to build new larger stores,” she added.

The outdoor shop is moving to Workington where it will open under the name Granite Outdoors (still part of the Yeomans group) at the end of the month. It is understood the staff will transfer to the Workington store but no-one at the Chesterfield-based company was available to say why the store had moved.

A spokeswoman for Evans, part of the Arcadia Group, confirmed the store would be closing but would not comment on staff issues or to say why the shop was closing. She said: “We endeavour to ensure our employees have further opportunities in the business where possible. We are continually looking at our property portfolio.”

It was also revealed this week that the town’s main post office, in Lowther Street, is looking for a retail partner to enable it to stay in Whitehaven. A national spokeswoman for The Post Office said this week: “To maintain our high street presence we will be looking to find retail partners for 70 of our branches enabling us to stay in these locations.

“We already have over 3,000 branches across the UK where customers are accessing services in this way. If no retail partner is found we are still committed to having a Crown Post Office within the area. There are no compulsory redundancies planned as part of this strategy.”

The preference is to use “partner” premises but if this was not possible then services would continue at Lowther Street, say the Post Office. They say it is part of a programme aimed at finding a retail partner to make services more viable.

Meanwhile local butchers have seen a boost in trade following the horse meat scandal – (full story page 4).

Charles Maudling, Whitehaven Chamber of Trade chairman, said he was sorry to see shops go but that there was a lot of work being done behind the scenes by town centre groups.

He said the Chamber was helping to sell the town. “We have taken photos of empty units in town and are sending them out to companies who may be interested in coming here.”

He also said the landlord of the former Evans unit (where the original shop was) is offering three years free rent.

Dianne Richardson, of Whitehaven’s Town Team, said: “Everyone is sad to see shops go but the high street nationally is changing and Whitehaven is no different to any other town.

“It’s a rapid change and the customers are in charge of that change, it’s up to customers where they shop. All the work the Town Team is doing will make a difference as we move forward and new business will see we have a lot to offer.

“The Focus shop got filled, as did Woollies and they are thriving because that’s where people are shopping,” she added.

Regarding the Post Office, Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “I’ve written to the post office to seek an urgent meeting. We need to know more than we are being told. We need certainty on jobs and on the future of the Lowther Street office. Another empty town centre building is unacceptable.”

Whitehaven’s main post office was closed earlier in the week but then re-opened following a routine audit. Customers were being asked to use nearby post offices.

Have your say

Please, anything but Primark...

Posted by Caring on 21 February 2013 at 15:00

Re comment by 'CC' - Primark will not be moving in because the shop has (probably) already been earmarked for use as a charity shop, fast food takeaway, bookies, cafe, etc et al. Tongue in cheek comment however, rather a grim comment as to the town planners priorities.
What is the town team again, anyone, please?

Posted by Observer on 20 February 2013 at 00:48

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