Uckfield businesses fear trade being damaged

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ANGRY traders in Bell Walk, Uckfield fear their businesses are being damaged by the actions of thoughtless landlords.

Traders staged a meeting on Tuesday to discuss their issues after public parking spaces were marked out for a new shop and precious trees cut down. And they hope that now their concerns have been aired, matters will be put right.

Claire Davies from Claire Davies Hairdressing told the Express: “It’s a disaster. About five beautiful flowering trees were cut down overnight. And near the place where the buses stop, parking spaces that had been available for everyone are suddenly reserved for a new shop, Pets Corner.

“The agent told me the trees were diseased, but they weren’t. They used to protect us from direct sunlight and now it’s bare. Pets Corner also have new signs everywhere but we can’t put signs up.”

John Stears from Princes Close also noticed that Pets Corner had acquired 10 reserved parking spaces for their own customers. He queried: “I wonder what happens next? Charges for parking? Other, smaller retailers feeling under pressure to spend money they can ill afford to reserve spaces? Don’t worry Pets Corner. I will not use your spaces. I will not use your shop either.”

A council spokesman said the car park was in private ownership and there is nothing they can do.

However Scott Levy representing the landlords’ agents told the Express: “As far as I am concerned, we met the tenants yesterday and they seemed to go away happy. We are just trying to please our tenants. I can’t tell you what arrangements are being made as this is strictly between them and ourselves.”

Pets Corner manager Richard Edmeads told the Express the chain has 70 separate shops and decisions are made by central management.

He said: “I believe it has all been sorted. I think it’s going to be changed.”

Claire said: “The marked parking spaces are right outside my shop. We would like to see changes made to them, and we also want the trees replanted.”

Another Uckfield resident said: “The shop had been empty for ages and I can imagine landlords caved in to Pets Corner demands just to get it let.”

Photographer Ron Hill who attended the meeting on behalf of the Sussex Express was asked to leave.