Photo: Birkdale Trading Estate
Fears grow over the future of Birkdale Trading Estate
Traders on Birkdale Trading Estate could be forced to sell up as a low budget supermarket eyes up the land for a potential new development.
OTS news understands that Aldi supermarkets are in advanced talks with the land owners of Birkdale Trading Estate in a bid to take over the site and develop it into a new supermarket complex – rivaling the nearby Tesco Extra store and adding to the chain’s portfolio in the resort.
Southport is already home to one of the UK’s largest Aldi Supermarkets, based at Meols Cop Retail Park.
OTSnews spoke to a number of business owners at the estate, just off Liverpool Road, who said they have been kept mostly in the dark over the proposals but admitted that the plans are one of the worst kept secrets in the area.
A spokesperson for Aldi said:
“Aldi can confirm that it is considering its options for bringing forward a new food store on the site of the Birkdale Trading Estate on Liverpool Road, Birkdale. However, we would like to assure tenants of the estate, elected members, and local residents, that this is far from guaranteed. Discussions about the site are ongoing with the landowner, and a firm agreement on the future of the Estate has not been reached.
“Should Aldi decide to submit a planning application for the site, this would only be after a thorough and extensive programme of consultation and engagement has been carried out. This will include consulting the estate tenants, elected representatives, and local residents. The local community will be fully notified about any consultation on a planning application.”
One trader, who wished to remain anonymous, told our reporter: “It’s one of the worst kept secrets around and we have known on and off about these plans for at least six months.
“Although there is nothing said directly to us, the managers of the estate have told us they will keep us informed and we understand that the deal between the land owners and Aldi has already been signed – the ink is dry.
“I have been here for over five years now and a lot of traders have made their livelihoods on this estate so it would be sad to be forced out – besides this is not just bad news for us, it will affect Tesco over the road and have a lasting negative impact on the area and for its residents.
“They’ll gain a supermarket but lose all of the services that are on offer here.”
Birkdale Trading Estate plays host to a number of traders, all specialising in various sectors including van hire, optical services, flooring and more.
Another trader told our reporter: “I believe the deal has been signed and I think some have already been given warning notices that the transformation could start within 12 months.”
Southport MP John Pugh weighed in on the news, warning that it could have a lasting negative effect on the area.
MP John Pugh has raised the alarm about the possible closure of Birkdale Trading Estate following three month notice to quit being served on many small traders.
“Unconfirmed plans are rumoured to earmark the site for another discount supermarket.
“This is very worrying and not just for the businesses concerned .
“Many small businesses start on trading estates and a range of crafts and skills are perfected and developed there.
“With all due respect not everyone is going to or should end up in food retail.
“Employment choices must not be narrowed for our young people. The council must make it plain to the owners that under the local plan we need these wider opportunities and not yet another supermarket.”
Aldi Supermarkets UK have been approached for comment.
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