Local MP Rosie Cooper is involved in working with local shop owners who fear the worst for the future of their businesses if the proposed rent increases go ahead. As part of the lease reviews West Lancashire District Council have increased rents on some shops by approximately 40%. This will leave many shops unable to afford to pay their increased rents and keep their businesses going.
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“I am extremely worried that such dramatic increases in rent for local shopkeepers could mean the closure of some stores."
"Many local residents in the Old Skelmersdale area of the town rely on the Sandy Lane Shopping Centre for many of their daily and weekly shopping needs. There are many older people who are unable or unwilling to travel to the Concourse to do their shopping. What alternative would they have if all the shops in the Sandy Lane Centre were to close or move to another area of the town.”
“Since West Lancashire District Council closed the Rent Office in the Shopping Centre local businesses have seen a significant drop in the amount of business they do. This means they are taking less money each week and reduces their profits. These rent rises have come at the wrong time as shops are fighting to remain open paying their current rents.” This could also mean the loss of much needed jobs.
“It is extremely worrying to think we could lose a number of shops in the Sandy Lane Centre. This is a real possibility conveyed to me by some shop owners. They truly believe this could spell the end for their businesses. Even having to close or relocate some shops would mean some shopkeepers having to sell their homes, leaving them in an impossible position. What signal would the Council be sending out if Sandy Lane shopping centre was left half empty?"
“I would urge West Lancashire District Council to sit up and take notice of the small business voice in Sandy Lane. This is not just a straightforward business argument. We need to consider the wider impact this would have on the residents of Old Skelmersdale who are the main consumers.”
Rosie Cooper will be working closely in the coming weeks with owners of businesses in Sandy Lane to find a solution to this severe problem.