Customers today spoke of their disappointment after store bosses confirmed Booths was to close one of its Fylde coast supermarkets.
The proposed closure of the shop at Highfield Road has been announced to staff, and comes as work continues on the ‘state-of-the-art replacement store’ in St Annes.
We don’t want it to close, there’s not another Booths in Blackpool and they have a good local feel
An expected two-month consultation has been opened with ‘in the region of approximately 10 full-time’ jobs ‘at risk’ at the Marton store, and the smaller Ansdell store, which will close in September as previously revealed by The Gazette.
A spokesman for the company said it was ‘anticipated’ that most staff would be able to move to the new Heyhouses Lane store in St Annes, as well as the redeveloped Teanlowe Centre outlet in Poulton.
John Harrison, a retired driver for Warburton’s, shops there every Monday and said staff has spoken of their fears in recent weeks.
“We had heard rumours,” he said. “Someone said a few weeks ago that nothing was happening, in terms of new machines and things.
“We don’t want it to close, there’s not another Booths in Blackpool and they have a good local feel.”
And pensioner Gladys Hook-Cheetham said she depended on the store being in walking distance of her home, since having stopped driving a few months ago.
“I rely on shopping here, and used to work for them,” she said. “I’ll be stuck without it – it’s a long way to walk to the next one.”
Margaret Johnson said it was a ‘shame’ to hear of the planned closure, and as a local resident would be sorry to see it go.
Paul Harrison, who lives opposite the store, said his neighbours relied on its local supplies.
“If they do close, we certainly don’t want a repeat of the hotels in South Promenade, with the fly-tipping and the like, if it was boarded up,” he said.
“Our neighbour’s husband is very ill and she cannot drive – it’s all bungalows round here, so people rely on that shop.”
His wife Margaret added: “It’s a lovely area to live in, but house prices will go down if it’s left boarded up.
“I wouldn’t buy my meat from anywhere else. They are a bit more expensive but you get what you pay for.
“But we’ve been expecting this since St Annes was announced.”
Another local resident, Albert Still, 91, said he did use the store, but was put off by the prices of some items.
He said: “You want an Aldi or Lidl there, and a postbox outside.”
The latest news comes in addition to the previously announced closure of the shop at Woodlands Road in Ansdell – although this has already been let for 15 years to the Co-op.
No announcement has yet been made about the possible future of the Marton site.
Booths is planning individual meetings with each staff member involved to discuss possible new roles.
Retail director Paul Minett said: “Booths is entering a very exciting phase of development and the new replacement stores that will open in Poulton and St Annes are at the cutting edge of design, and will offer the best in terms of quality and service.
“It’s a difficult decision to propose the closure of stores and we understand there will be some uncertainty while we consult with our colleagues.
“We’re confident the transition will run smoothly and look forward to opening the new stores later this year.”
Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council’s director responsible for business, said: “It’s disappointing to see any shop or business close as it can create uncertainty in the local area.
“I’d like to hope that any of the staff currently working at Highfield Road might be offered opportunities at some of the new stores but if not then the council will try and offer support to those employees in the same way that we do for anybody looking for a new job.
“The land doesn’t belong to the council so decisions about its future will lie with its owners.”