Formby shopkeeper presents 300-name petition of opposition again

Squirrel Newsagents owner Lee Hamlett hands the 300-name petition to Labour Ravenmeols Ward candidate Catie Page with other business owners and local shoppers Rob Boyle, Stuart Johnson, Dave Edwards, Simon Wilcox and Stephanie Howie.


Formby Labour Action Team leader Catie Page has been presented with a petition from shopkeepers on Liverpool Road who are opposing plans to convert the Lighthouse Pub into a convenience store.

The 300-name petition was compiled by Squirrel Newsagents owner Lee Hamlett who said the two-storey store would be devastating for local
business along the busy road.

Lee said his shop has been flooded with local residents and local business-owners who are opposing the plans.

Handing the petition to Catie Page, who is also the Labour candidate for Ravenmeols, Lee said: "This has been an established business for over 40 years. People come here not just for their newspaper or general shopping, but also for a friendly talk.

"We need to preserve local business and by establishing a large convenience store like the one they have planned, we are forcing local companies out of business.

"A convenience store of this size will directly affect me and my livelihood and the other shop owners on this stretch have exactly the same concerns.

"This is has been a good area to set up a business, but now I'm beginning to think twice. We used to get a lot of passing trade, but that won't be the case once this convenience store is built.

"I really want to grow the business and expand, but my fear is that I will be squeezed out of business by these plans.

"I am grateful for the level of support from people in the area who have gone out of their way to sign this petition."

Catie said as well as wanting to safeguard local businesses, one of her main concerns was safety.

Catie said: "Liverpool Road is already a very busy road, particularly near to this spot. With the new petrol station, which has already been given planning approval and now these plans, then the traffic will be at extremely dangerous levels.

"Redgate Primary School is only a short distance away and there are always lots of children and young people in the area around the end of the school day. Which adds to the danger.

"Lee was telling me he's already seen two children knocked down at this spot in just 15 months. As a Formby myself, this really horrifies me.

"So I am taking this issue up with our MP Bill Esterson and some of the Labour Group members to discuss what option the shopkeepers and residents have to oppose these plans.

"I know that Lee and the other shop keepers on this row work really long hours, some seven days a week just to keep their businesses going. By allowing a major convenience store to be built on one side as well as a 24 hour service station and shop on the other, these businesses will really struggle.

"We need to ensure that residents' views are heard, that local businesses are protected and our roads are safe."

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he shared the residents' and local businesses' concerns.

Bill said: "The residents and shopkeepers make some very valid points in relation to these plans.

"Firstly the road is already extremely busy and I would like to see much better road safety features, including the introduction of a pelican crossing on Liverpool Road. The new already approved petrol station will considerably add to the traffic levels, as will a new convenience store.

"With that, I am also concerned for the existing local businesses which will suffer if a shop of this size is built. At a time when local businesses are already struggling - just take a look at the number of vacant shops in the Village - we need to help local businesses. I am concerned that this development could end up seeing a range of local businesses go under. That isn't good for the local economy or the local community."

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