22 April 2016
Hot on the
heels of the announcement that the Co-op is to close its New Ferry
store, Lloyds Bank has today also announced it is closing its branch in
the town as well.
The news has
shocked traders in the beleaguered district centre who now fear their
own businesses will suffer as the result of reduced footfall. The
loss of these major businesses follows the closure of other shops in
recent years which has included Ethel Austins, Hunters Furniture, the
Citizens Advice Bureau, and even the Oxfam charity shop which closed
down just after christmas.
angry traders gathered with shocked residents to protest about the
closures which will happen towards the end of May. Local
businesses who use the New Ferry branch of Lloyds to cash their takings
received letters from Lloyds Bank this morning telling them they will
have to travel to Birkenhead in future to do so. One trader
complained that as she is only insured to have less than £2,500 of
takings in her shop at any one time, she will have to take a member of
staff with her to Birkenhead once or twice a day, and shut up the shop
whilst they are gone - thus losing potential trade.
Alison McGovern and
local residents protesting about the closure of two New Ferry businesses
and the lack of action by the government to tackle the issues of
struggling district centres
Alison McGovern was shocked to be notified by email from Lloyds this
morning after they had previously given her assurances that as "the last
bank in town" there was an agreement that they would not leave New Ferry
without a bank.
Alison said she had also been in contact with Co-op's head office who
said their store had been operating at a loss for several years, and
despite being locked into a long lease, they had been working with the
landlord of the building to try to find another operator willing to take
the store over. Unfortunately, there had been no other company
willing to do so.
the blame for New Ferry's fortunes, along with that of other similar
local district centres, squarely with the government which disbanded the
North West Development Agency in 2010 and withdrew all the funding which
it would have used to support regeneration in our towns such as this.
was once a major shopping centre with many popular stores where
generations of shoppers visited. Today, it is a shadow of its former
self with the Croft Retail Park and Birkenhead having grown to rob it of
its trade and customers. In recent weeks, both Aldi and Lidl have
submitted applications to the Council to build proposed new Aldi
and Lidl stores just a mile down New Chester Road nearer to Bromborough.
It is believed that these proposals will have hammered in the final
nails of the New Ferry coffin as far as the Co-op was concerned.
Residents Association chair, Mark Anthony Craig, said "this is nuclear
meltdown of a district centre. Something very drastic needs to be
done with New Ferry, and urgently to reverse its downfall. The
closure of the largest retailer in the centre, as well as the last of
the four banks it had just 25 years ago will seriously reduce the
shopping choices for many elderly people within the community who cannot
easily get to and walk around large centres such as the overcrowded
Croft Retail Park."
New Ferry Residents Association will be organising an urgent public
meeting as soon as the election is out of the way, for traders and
residents to speak to the leader of Wirral Council about what can be
done to improve the fortunes of the town.