Ship’s sailed for Blackburn's Hake Boat
TWO businesses say they have suffered such dramatic losses since the relocation of the Blackburn bus station that they have no choice but to close.
Railway Road will lose Sound as a Pound and The Hake Boat, which has been selling fish and chips in the town centre since 1939, in the next few weeks.
Zeki Ates, 40, owner of The Hake Boat said: “I am so fed up with Blackburn with Darwen Council.
“I lost £4,000 in the last four months, since it moved the bus stop and my profits are down 60 per cent on what they were this time last year.
“All the councillors are bragging in the Telegraph about how many million pounds they are spending on the town centre but what are they doing for the small businesses that are already here?
“They just tell us that when the regeneration is done, it will bring us more business but how do they expect us to cope in the meantime? We just can’t. They don’t care.
“This place has been a chip shop since the 1930s and I’ve had it for six years and it’s never been like this.
“We used to have queues at lunch time but not now.
“Our takings are 60 per cent down on what they were six months ago. This place is up for sale and it’s sad. I don’t want to do it but it’s too late for me now.”
Mr Ates has now put the business up for sale and is in talks with a buyer.
Sohel Vaid, 37, who owns Sound as a Pound, said: “We are going to cease trading.
“I can’t even sell the place because who would want to buy this business when it’s not making enough money? It’ll just be standing empty.
“The rates are high and we haven’t been compensated at all so it’s been a real struggle.
“People get the bus into town now, go to the Mall and go back to the bus without seeing any other areas of town.
“The only reason people walk down here now is to go for the train.
“The council is welcoming Primark, betting shops, Poundland and big names like that but they just don’t care about independent traders. ”
Councillor and regeneration boss Maureen Bateson said: “We have tried wherever possible to keep footfall going in that area.
“The difficulty may be that they have had rate increases but they are nothing to do with us.
“We need to speak to these businesses ourselves.”
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