Ear chain protest over store closure

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A BUSINESS owner forced to move to make way for the Blackpool Central Business District chained himself to his shop – by his ear –in a protest.

James Woods, who owns the Blackpool Body Piercing Clinic on Talbot Road, hit out at the council, claiming he had not received promised payments before the premises were closed down by a sheriff.

Town hall bosses today said the business owner has had plenty of time to move on – including three postponements.

But Mr Woods added: “My new shop will be ready within a week and they won’t do anything here yet so why not wait? They offered other businesses premises to work from, but not me.

“I’m still waiting for money to pay the builders in my new shop. I’ve done everything asked of me, and my surveyor said everything has been filed correctly.

“The person dealing with me went off for six weeks and since then I’ve been dealt with very unfairly. I was told I’d get £26,000 for the works and I was paid £5,000, then another £10,000 after I told them I’d called The Gazette. Everyone else has been paid in full.”

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John Donnellon, Blackpool Council’s assistant chief executive for built environment, said the council had tried to work with Mr Woods.

He added: “We understand it is disruptive to your business when you have to move premises. We have endeavoured to be as helpful as possible, have kept Mr Woods informed over the past two years and have put back the possession date three times.

“Mr Woods has received two advance payments to go towards his relocation costs. He is due to receive another payment when he submits appropriate evidence and invoices for work on his new premises.

“Mr Woods knew the council – which owns the property and land – was due to take possession of the properties this month.

“All the other businesses have now left.”

The properties on the row are owned by the council, following compulsory purchase and are due to be demolished as part of the Central Business District (Talbot Gateway) development, which is part of the ongoing work to regenerate the northern part of the town.

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