Town trade fears over job losses

ReAssure's premises in Ballam Road
ReAssure's premises in Ballam Road

A Fylde business chief fears for the effect the potential loss of 200 jobs will have on town centre trade.

The ReAssure insurance company sent shock waves through Lytham when it announced the planned closure of its Ballam Road site.

This is dreadful news which will have an obvious knock-on effect to the local economy

Consultation with employees is currently under way after it was revealed that staff might be able to transfer to the company’s other offices in Shropshire and Hertfordshire, but otherwise the roles are to be made redundant.

While Fylde MP Mark Menzies and local councillors have pledged to do all they can to help those affected, the Lytham Business Partnership says its members, whose businesses rely on daily trade from the workers concerned, are also feeling anxious.

Chairman Denize Ashton said: “The potential closure of that office is dreadful news for everyone involved and for Lytham generally.

“Not only might local people lose their jobs or have to relocate away from the area, but this will have an obvious knock-on effect to the local economy.

“All businesses that rely on daily local trade will find it a struggle, but the major impact will be on the small businesses that only just keep afloat in the face of rising rents and rates.

“I hope something is being done to attract other business into the area, and I will be asking this question of local government.”

Sara Dewhurst , proprietor of Le Roti food shop on Park Street, said: “As a small business owner myself, the closure of AXA last year has already caused a noticeable reduction in trade and now the loss of ReAssure may well mean that some businesses could fail, leading to further job losses and empty units within the town. Unless something is done we will find ourselves in a downward spiral.”

Fylde councillors Peter Anthony, Ray Thomas and Richard Fradley, whose Clifton ward covers Ballam Road, are liaising closely with Mr Menzies on the matter and Coun Anthony said: “It is a great concern to us and we will do everything we can to reverse the company’s decision. These are major investors, who are vital to the area and don’t want to lose employment in this town.”

A spokesman for ReAssure said: “The management team acknowledges this is difficult news for the employees and their families, and they will now start consultations with the union in to make sure the employees are supported through this challenging transition period.”