Small firms’ champ takes up cudgel with property developer over Carrington plans

Aerial image of Carrington

A small firms’ champion has urged a Birchwood property developer to “do the right thing” and give tenants more time to find alternative premises after being ordered to vacate.

The Blackpool-based Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has stepped into the row with the Wain Group.

It says its Wain Homes division gave 72 firms on Carrington Business Park their marching orders in February, after announcing the site would be bulldozed to make way for a new housing estate.

While many of the businesses found alternative sites, around a dozen firms, from a garage mechanic business to caravan storage facility, have been unable to find suitable alternatives and now face the prospect of having to cease trading, claims the FSB.

It said the businesses, which it claims have not been given any form of relocation help or offer of compensation, have been told utilities will be cut off to the site in September and to be gone from the site by then.

Janet Chappell, of Carrington Caravans, said: “It’s devastating for us, we’ve been here for nearly 40 years and with just a few months’ notice that’s it, we gone for good.

“We were initially promised new facilities and investment in the site by Wain, never once were we told the business park would be bulldozed which is the plan now. We are effectively being forcibly evicted with nowhere to go.

“We attended several consultation meetings, and at no point was it mentioned there would be no business park, and more importantly no accommodation for the existing business park tenants. We have had the rug pulled and next to no help from anyone at Wain.”

The FSB, which has a number of members among the affected businesses, intervened and organised a meeting with firms under threat with local MP Kate Green, and a director from Wain, although, it says, the meeting proved fruitless.

FSB development manager, Robert Downes, said: “I would urge Wain to have another look at this and do the right thing with these remaining long standing tenants. These businesses accept they have to move on, but haven’t had nearly enough time to do so, especially given the pandemic situation earlier this year.

Robert Downes

“If Wain insists on the current timetable these firms will simply cease trading with the loss of a number of jobs, successful businesses built over many years destroyed and lives ruined. Most right-thinking people will see the travesty in this, particularly in the current cost of living crisis.”

He added: “But it doesn’t have to be this way and Wain Homes could step in. I would also urge Trafford Council to step in. I’m sure they weren’t aware businesses would be left high and dry when they gave planning consent for this site for housing.

“These businesses just need more time to find new premises. We urge Wain, which announced record profits of over £53.9m last month, to throw them a lifeline – more time, a relocation package, and some meaningful help to find alternative sites if they can’t find space for the businesses on one of their other sites.”

A spokesperson for Wain Estates said: “The redevelopment of Carrington Business Park will see the creation of a state-of-the-art Enterprise Park, delivering 268,000 sq ft of employment space across 10 highly energy-efficient commercial buildings that will contribute towards the creation of 1,340 jobs in Carrington Village.

“The business park, built in the late 1950s, has reached the end of its lifespan and Wain Estates has been working closely and consulting with existing businesses since outline planning consent for redevelopment was granted back in 2017.

“We have been transparent with tenants, all of whom were advised before signing leases, of the development plans. Despite the majority of businesses operating on one-month rolling contracts, we gave all tenants almost seven months’ notice and we are pleased to see the vast majority of businesses have secured alternative accommodation.”

They added: “The remaining six businesses were told in a meeting with Kate Green MP that, given the development timeline an extension of their leases would not be possible.

“Whilst we appreciate the impact of relocation, we are investing for the future, making more efficient use of brownfield land by delivering housing, jobs and facilitating new public open spaces, all of which are key to Trafford and Greater Manchester.”

The business also pointed out that Carrington Business Park is owned and managed by Wain Estates, adding: “While Wain Estates and Wain Homes are both part of Wain Group, we are separate businesses and Wain Homes has no involvement in this matter.”

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