Backlash over plans for ‘Timpson kiosk’

Tesco's Carrickfergus store   INCT 40-425-RM
Tesco's Carrickfergus store INCT 40-425-RM

A number of Carrick residents have voiced concern over plans to place a ‘Timpson pod’ outside the local branch of Tesco on Minorca Place.

The pods, which are available at various locations around the UK, typically provide a range of services from key-cutting and shoe repairs to dry-cleaning.

However, the proposal was met with criticism from local people, who expressed concern that the kiosk would draw customers away from other businesses.

Robin Stewart, who runs the independent Robinson’s Shoemakers on Market Place, claimed the arrival of the small-scale business would be damaging to some of Carrick town centre’s most established retailers.

“Some of Carrick’s oldest businesses, like ourselves and McCune’s on West Street, will be affected by this.

“Robinson’s have been around for 60 years and as we do shoe repairs, this will definitely hurt us for a while,” he told the Times.

A number of residents took to social networking site Facebook to express their fears over the plans.

One user, Landa Knox, said: “West Street is dead and in serious need of redevelopment.

“Rates are too high and there are too many empty, deteriorated buildings that need attention.

“The traders already there are seriously struggling; I would be surprised if half of them are still there this time next year!

“More power to Tesco will ruin our town centre.”

Speaking at the December meeting of Carrickfergus Council, Alderman Jim Brown said: “These facilities are already available in the borough and my fear is that this will put local people out of work.”

Challenging the Planning Service’s assertion that the proposed site for the pod was located in the town centre, he added: “If you ask the man on the street where the town centre is, they are not going to say Minorca Place.”

The meeting heard there were no objections received on planning grounds with Planning Service granting approval.