Fight to save Homebase continues as local shares frustration

PUBLISHED: 08:30 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:30 08 January 2020

Homebase staff campaigning on site against closure. Picture: CONTRIBUTED.

Homebase staff campaigning on site against closure. Picture: CONTRIBUTED.

Archant

Homebase has vowed to fight the latest move to force it out of Saffron Walden.

The landlord of Homebase in Saffron Walden has appealed against the decision to keep the store instead of converting the land into a care home.

The owner of the property, Charterhouse Property Group, has submitted an appeal, but Homebase said it will be fighting the legal request.

A spokesman for Homebase said: "Our intention is to serve a Section 26 notice on our landlord at the earliest opportunity, which would give us the right to renew our lease and continue to trade at the store.

"We intend to stand our ground and fight this appeal. Homebase is committed to its future in Saffron Walden".

The move comes following Homebase being saved from potential closure after the redevelopment plans for the site it occupies were rejected in September this year by Uttlesford District Council (UDC).

On hearing the decision to appeal, 67-year-old Gary Crannes, retired, who lives right outside the store, said: "The council's already rejected the application, what does this mean, are we gonna lose Homebase? There is nowhere else that is open at the times Homebase is, and where else can you get that range of items, at those prices?

"If Homebase goes it will kill this town because there will be more traffic on the road, not good for the environment, people are going to go out of the town more for their shopping. Who wants to do all the driving, when you can be home in five minutes by going into town?

"There are plenty of charity shops and coffee shops, there is not much else in Saffron Walden. Is an old people's home an asset to the town? No, because only a limited number of people are going to use it."

A petition submitted to the council had almost 5,000 signatures. Locals also sent around 800 letters of objection.

"We have been overwhelmed by the strength of feeling in the local community about the potential closure of our store.

"Thank you to all those who took the time to submit their comments," said a spokesman for Homebase.

The land was bought by Charterhouse Property Group in 2018 for £1.8million. A 68-bedroom care home was planned, with Care UK as the specialist operator.


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