WILKOS TO CLOSE

First, the good news, and tghen the really really crap news.

The tram is now totally greenlighted, and all signatures are dried on all contracts, after a decade of toing-and froing, its official. Whatever your view on the tram, its a good thing that we now have some certainty. Even those who were militantly against the tram: Cllr. Jackson and our MP, Anna Soubry are now pragmatically accepting its inevitability and getting behind making it work well.

Really crap news: It’s just been revealed that Wilko’s is to close. Yep, one of the better Beeston shops- I’m aware its a chain but its a very good one- is being kicked out of Beeston through no fault of its own. I’m not totally in possession of all the facts but it seems that the finger can be pointed at Broxtowe Borough Council’s planning committee that failed to ensure their was a suitable  relocation site to move to. As a result, the bulldozers will be rumbling up to the precinct in February and the emporium of budget house, garden and Pick n Mix produce will be reduced to rubble.

When the High Street is under attack by forces of recession, out-of-town shopping and Mary bloody Portas shaping legislation the enforced closure of one of the few shops to stand strong is a disaster, especially for those who work there and now face a post-xmas present of a P45.

Needless to say, the Campaign to Save Wilkos starts here….

More later, as I get it, and on Twitter: search for @beeestonia (yep, triple E). FOLLOW!

 UPDATE: Cllr. Barber has been in touch to offer some clarity on the matter:

This site and the associated other media are usually excellent but this time you are slightly askew:

True, Wilkos will have to move from their current location in April to make way for the tram. We have known this was going to happen now for several years, although sadly at some points I was the only person on the Council who actually remained convinced, which means that all those concerned have had plenty time to make alternative arrangements.

The Development Control Committee, which I chair and you seem to deride can only look at plans in front of us as submitted by an individual or developer. We have had no plans yet for a new Wilkos.

The matter of where Wilkos will move to is up to them and their landlord, we can only approve or chuck out the plans once they let us know.. 

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45 thoughts on “WILKOS TO CLOSE

  1. Javid says:

    What a bunch of muppets we have in the Council. Let’s have a giant statue to them all and chuck free range organically produced, fair traded products at them.

    Of course I now expect Anna Soubry and Steve Carr to save the day as they always do, I know because it says so in their leaflets.

  2. Dan! Dan! Dan! says:

    Bonkers! Why would they let this happen? Ok, it’s not the most glamorous of stores but Beeston’s branch of Wilco’s is constantly busy and offers some great bargains which will be sadly missed.

    It goes without saying that I will support anything that Beestonia can come up with in way of a campaign to save this venerable one stop shop of bog brushes, tooth paste and yard brooms.

  3. Rachel says:

    Terrible news, especially as wilkos was so keen to stay in Beeston. About the only shop I actually use in Beeston!

  4. Steve Barber says:

    This site and the associated other media are usually excellent but this time you are slightly askew:

    True, Wilkos will have to move from their current location in April to make way for the tram. We have known this was going to happen now for several years, although sadly at some points I was the only person on the Council who actually remained convinced, which means that all those concerned have had plenty time to make alternative arrangements.

    The Development Control Committee, which I chair and you seem to deride can only look at plans in front of us as submitted by an individual or developer. We have had no plans yet for a new Wilkos.

    The matter of where Wilkos will move to is up to them and their landlord, we can only approve or chuck out the plans once they let us know..

  5. The Rylander says:

    Oh no! Wilkos shutting down 😦 I nearly always go in there when I’m in the centre.

    Why couldn’t they bulldoze that aweful looking, hardly used Tesco building instead.

  6. kerrycooks says:

    Please don’t leave us Wilko’s…. we need you!

  7. Fred Bloggs says:

    So if I read it correctly. Wilkos will shut because no-one has found anywhere for them to go, even though they should have known this was going to happen.

    It seems that unfortunately too many people have been listening to the Conservatives and anti-tram people who said that they would stop the tram. These people should be ignored.

    Chickens coming home to roost – get out of this one Soubry; you made stopping the tram an election pledge, I heard you, remember?

    I am also a silly old fool for listening and voting for you.

  8. Kate Ames says:

    This is awful news. Wilkos is a brilliant shop and something must be done to get alternative premises – I don’t care whose responsibility this is, we need Wilkos in Beeston.

  9. David Watts says:

    The blame rests with Henry Boot, who are the landlords. They have been told repeatedly that they MUST ensure that Wilkinsons had a new venue to go to immediately they needed it, and they have massively messed up. In exactly the same way they have delayed the rebuilding of the Square so that it will now no longer tie in with the tram works. In short, they have treated the people of Broxtowe with utter contempt.

    • Kate Ames says:

      Shame on Henry Boots. What do you suggest we as the public can do?

    • The Rylander says:

      Perhaps Henry boots see Wilkos as too much of a competitor to their shop.

      Do they own all of the precinct, or just the Wilkos bit of it?

      I’m was neutral to edging for the tram but if we are going to lose all the businesses in the precinct, frankly there will be little point to travelling into the centre by tram or any other means.

    • Dan Walker says:

      Councillor Watts – you can’t just lay the blame at the doors of Henry Boot. Why would it be in their interests to lose their biggest tenant? As developers they have faced, like everyone affected by the Tram proposals, the problems of uncertainty – will the Tram actually happen or not and when is it going to happen. I suggest your sentiments are clouded by your frustration with the delays in Henry Boot bringing forward their re-development of The Square. Had the Tram not been coming through the Square they would have been able to bring forward their proposals much quicker. They have been faced with the threat that a section of The Square is going to be compulsory acquired but this is only made a reality as and when the Tram deal is completed. This only happened last Thursday. To start building a new store before they know that the Tram proposal has been confirmed would be foolish from a commercial perspective and is a decision that no property developer would have taken.

      There aren’t any 10-15,000 sq. ft units in Beeston that Wilkos could move to so a new store will have to be built. It is likely that this process is going to take 18-24 months – find a site, secure planning and then build. The Tram construction is going to take 3 years to complete. Surely Broxtowe Council should be lobbying the City to allow Wilkos to stay in place for say 2 years whilst an alternative location is sorted out. This would still allow the City a year to complete the section of Tram where their current site is and allow Beeston to retain one of its most loved stores.

      • David Watts says:

        Dan, we have a sight identified for Wilkinsons. I’m afraid that I don’t agree that things would have happened faster if the tram wasn’t happening. My experience of Henry Boot is that they think they made a mistake buying the Square in the first place, and when it looked like the tram might not happen they totally lost interest in doing anything. It’s only when the tram got the go ahead that they started getting interested again, but every time we have agreed anything with them they have come back a fortnight later to say that want to change it. I’ve never dealt with such a difficult company in my life. We had agreed three years ago that they would prepare two different plans for redevelopment, one with the tram and one without, but they never came up with the goods. Unfortunately the schedule for works requires that Beeston is dealt with early on – our experts have looked at this and confirmed that the argument is correct – so leaving the current store standing until the last minute isn’t an option.

  10. Javid says:

    Organise and revolt!

  11. rachel says:

    U can’t close Wilkinsons, It’s terrible news. What is the local council thinking? Surely we need to encourage retailers to trade in Beeston and to provide an attractive offer. It pains me to see empty shops, there is so much potential and the public demand for more, not less. I believe its the responsibility of local council to fight for our shopping centre. Get it together, come on.

    • Kate Ames says:

      Steve just said, if Wilkos is closing, what about Argos? That’s another local asset we’d hate to see go. Does anyone know whether they have anywhere else to go? What’s happening to Birds, Peacocks, Ashley Peake etc? I’ve just realised how ignorant I am about it all!

      • Dan Walker says:

        The Tram doesn’t affect Argos, Yorkshire Bank or any of the retailers along the “front” of The Square – it takes out the units after Yorkshire Bank on the right hand side as you walk down to the bus station plus Wilkos. We also lose the multi storey. The Tram travels from Middle Street through Blockbuster Video and then up the back of The Square, behind Argos through Wilkos before heading down Chilwell Road.

        I wouldn’t worry about declaring ignorance – getting information about what is happening has been very difficult even for those who are directly affected. Residents and businesses along Chilwell Road whose premises are being demolished were only told last week that they have 14 days to relocate! This is why Wilkos have just announced their closure – though they have been given more notice than the small businesses and residents.

      • Kate Ames says:

        Thanks Dan, very useful info.

      • The Rylander says:

        Ah so it’s not the whole of the square that is going. That’s a relief 🙂

  12. Gailsman says:

    A terrible state of affairs. As an anti tram person Wilko’s is the first casualty. Probably one of many by the time the dreaded thing arrives. So now if they don’t find new premises we will all have to troop off to Long Eaton for our bargains.

  13. logovora says:

    Dump Tesco’s and relocate Wilko’s there. Problem solved!

  14. Javid says:

    I have a solution, maybe not perfect but obvious:

    You once said the Council debating chamber was big. Big enough for a Wilkos? That would kill two birds with one stone, we’d get a new location for Wilkos and we’d get rid of those Goons who never did anything about them relocating. If they want the Chamber back then they have to get their fingers out and find somewhere for Wilkos.

    I would particularly suggest putting the toilet paper and toilet cleaning products department in the Planning Committee’s room. After all they are used to peddling that which these products clean up.

  15. Steve Barber says:

    Dan Walker

    The tram has been coming to Beeston for years and we all should have known it. There have been various milestones which we passed; program entry, the public inquiry 3 years ago, the inspectors very positive reccommendation and wholesale endorsement by the Secretary of State, announcement that it passed the latest spending review a year ago, preferred bidder announced in the spring and finally financial close last week.

    Henry Boot should have been preparing for this at least a year ago when Norman Baker announced the money. I and others have kept them fully up to speed for over 5 years now. They chose to do nothing until it was too late, despite the constant warnings.

    Unfortunately there are some as Fred points out who have very much hindered this process.

    • Dan Walker says:

      Steve

      I agree that we have all known about the Tram proposal for many years but the commercial reality is that business decisions are not made on the hope that something might happen – they are made when you are sure they will happen. I have worked for a commercial developer and have built shopping centres so I understand why Henry Boot haven’t developed a store for them to relocate to. I have no links to that company and as a resident of Beeston am keen to see Square re-developed. I’m also keen to see Wilkos stay. I didn’t agree with Councillor Watts’ comments that Henry Boot were to blame as I understand the commercial issues involved. Like him I suggest that your analysis of the situation has been clouded by the problems that you have had with that company in re-developing The Square.

      You could equally try and blame Wilkos own property department for not finding somewhere to relocate to using the same logic as you are applying to Henry Boot. They don’t have to go to a Henry Boot property. They are losing what is often reported as one of their most profitable stores. Again, due to the uncertainty there is only a limited amount they can do prior to the deal being signed.

      Now that the deal has been signed, surely we should be asking the City to let them stay in place whilst a new unit is provided. There is a three year build so no reason why the section where the store is currently can’t be completed at the end of that period.

      If the City have to pay compensation to Wilkos for extinguishment of their business (which is what will happen if they can’t find a unit to move to) then the claim will be massive. It will be much cheaper to pay their moving costs which is what will happen if they move to a new store so it would be a win win for both the City and the residents of Beeston / happy shoppers of the Wilkos store.

      I’m happy to have a chat with you about this tomorrow if you want…

      • The Rylander says:

        “Now that the deal has been signed, surely we should be asking the City to let them stay in place whilst a new unit is provided. There is a three year build so no reason why the section where the store is currently can’t be completed at the end of that period.”

        That’s sensible, you are correct there.

    • The Rylander says:

      I don’t think you can blame the council. Thankfully Hunts managed to find a new place; Henry Boot/Wilkos should have moved then.

      Looking on Google maps, it is a shame Tesco bullied their way into building a supermarket that few wanted. That eyesore has taken prime land that looks to be about 3 times the size of the Square – plenty of room for shops that people want and need.

  16. Gailsman says:

    Shopping along the High Road yesterday, I was surprised to see that Bettle’s the charity furniture store in what was once McDonald’s has closed. Although not really that surprised, considering the prices of what is essentially second hand furniture. A possible new home for Wilko’s perhaps?

    • The Rylander says:

      I was thinking that was a good place for them to go. Right next to the Beeston Bookstore would be a nice location.

      • Dan Walker says:

        The unit is no where big enough – they would want something like 10 times that size and there’s nothing available in the town centre. The Silk Mill (Clinton Cards) is also coming available after Christmas but again this is far too small in spite of being one of the biggest units on the High Road.

  17. Steve Barber says:

    As far the three year build is concerned, it is broken down into 3 distinct phases, each about a year long. However, there is some wriggle room but not a great deal. The three phases are:

    site preparation, including relocation of all services – this is the worst bit as far as finding the unpredictable and disruption.

    Tracklaying.

    Overhead wires, signalling, testing and commissioning.

    Fortunately a huge amount of surveying work has been done so the uncertainty element is minimalised, but it is out the question not to get moving with the Square long before three years are up.

    Needless to say talks have been on-going between the City, Henry Boot and Broxtowe Borough Council with NET start dates discussed in detail. Special permission was given by the Secretary of State to start work before contracts were signed so last week’s decision was by no means a shot out the blue. Sadly Henry Boot and Wilkos don’t seem to have been very forthcoming in getting a plan together. Don’t forget that Tramlink were not in a position to announce a start date either until financial close but they have worked hard to get their plan together, they too are a private concern.

    Tesco – they owned the land, the 2000 public inquiry designated it as retail land (I objected at the time). Tesco then said we own the land, we are a retailer and wnt to open a retail store on land designated as retail land.

    By all means give me a ring Dan.

    • Dan Walker says:

      Thanks for this – interesting. I haven’t seen much about the build programme but was aware they need to relocate services etc. Its a real pity if they can’t delay this section of the build – the compensation costs are going to be huge if they can’t relocate. Will call you to see if we can come up with a plan that helps Wilkos to stay.

  18. Kate Ames says:

    Steve and Dan, I hope you can come up with something, It doesn’t sound likely that Wilkos can stay where it is for the three years mentioned, but please may there be somewhere for it.

    I’m just trying to work out why the old MacDonald’s site is far too small .. given that there must have been some space taken up by kitchens as well as the eating areas, and there is an upstairs (though not very big as I recall from my kids’ birthday parties) I’m just wondering how impossible this would be …

  19. Dan Walker says:

    Update – Spoke with Steve Tough of the NET today who is always very helpful with info – he said that Wilkos had asked for an extension of a year as they have interest in other sites and thought they could move within a year. However, they (the City) have looked at the build program and they can’t do this so they said Wilkos has to close.

    The Rylander – saw your comment about me blaming the Council (not sure whether you mean Broxtowe or the City). Sorry if you have read things this way but I don’t blame them – was suggesting Broxtowe should speak with the City to try and allow Wilkos to remain whilst they relocate. It would appear that extensive discussions have taken between the City and Wilkos and for whatever reason the decision is that they can’t wait – as Steve Barber had confirmed in his last post.

    Looks like we’ll be without Wilkos for a while – a real pity.

    • The Rylander says:

      Opps sorry Dan – I didn’t mean to sound like I thought you were blaming the council :0} it wasn’t aimed at anyone, just a general observation.

  20. adoptedmariner says:

    Using the entirely unscientific method of looking at an ariel shot in gmap-pedometer it seems to me that there is sufficient space to build a new (and possibly a bit larger) store
    on the Foster Ave car park. Whilst I appreciate that means losing some parking the sacrifice would be worth it to keep Wilkinson’s in Beeston .
    Given that many modern retail units are prefabricated tin sheds that can be erected in weeks not months, a council that has the desires of its populace at heart and so will
    ensure that planning permissions etc are granted without delay there could be a new Wilkinson store open in time to put the 2012 Christmas decorations on sale .

  21. Steve Barber says:

    Adoptedmariner. That site has been considered along with others, none have been ruled out and I’m sure that we could soon pass a valid, acceptable application.

    In short the Council has the will and lots of it but we don’t have the money to do it. If only…..

    The last year has been extremely frustrating for us all. I constantly warned that this was going to happen, but several others decalred that the tram was “dead in the water”, “a long way off yet”, “will never happen whilst I’m still here” etc…..etc….

    Those who publicly said these things and that they were going to stop the tram when they knew they hadn’t a chance are largely to blame.

    Dan give me a ring.

    Awaiting a valid application.

  22. Kate Ames says:

    Dan, thanks for the update, and Steve, you’ve obviously wanted to have this sorted out for some time. I hope you get a valid application asap.

  23. Javid says:

    Right let’s name and shame those who Steve says have been trying to gain votes by saying they’d stop the tram; even when they knew:

    They are:

    Cllr Richard Jackson

    Cllr Eric Kerry
    Cllr Joan Briggs
    Cllr Eileen Atherton (All Tories)
    and the worst offender who changes with the wind:

    ANNA SOUBRY MP. (once she looks up on her A to Z where Beeston Square is)

    Steve could have done more but at least he tried to help not hinder.

  24. trevor cast says:

    The anti-tram stance of the Tories began way back in 2002.
    It (the stance) was used to good advantage by the Tories to win a County council bye-election.

    Won by Cllr Richard Jackson.

    The main architect of this political game of football was the late departed former Tory councillor Sheila Foster.

    Even if you think this was a dispicable piece of opportunism on the part of the the Tories, it is what you would call party politics.

    So Hats Off to the Tories, they even managed to gain the ultimate prize of county hall. (even if they lost out on regaining Broxtowe)

    but a big BUT

    The pro trammers have got the second phase….(touchwood)

    You will not doubt see the Tories over time putting out leaflets saying that they were not anti-tram at all and infact the public should thank them for the wonderful tram system.

  25. […] Beeston. At the moment it is unclear who is to blame for this, whether it be the local Council (who deny responsibility), Henry Boot (owners of the current shopping centre), NET or Wilkos themselves, and at the moment […]

  26. The bee says:

    Can’t imagine a Beeston without Wilkinson ‘everything for home and garden’…B & M just isn’t the same 😦

  27. Barry Morrison says:

    Yes, it’s sad for Wilko’s and a few more shops down that side of the square but leave that aside and think of something else…Regeneration of Beeston…More jobs for Beeston etc….Remember a few years ago before the tram went through to Bulwell and Hucknall…Well all sorts of statements about increased jobs being made available in Radford and Hyson Green were made….Well just look at those two areas now….There’s no jobs…They’re still deprived areas and the two busiest places in Radford are the Police Station and The Immigration Solicitors….This tram was never wanted and Beeston has the best bus services anywhere in Notts

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