The founder of Selsey based Checkatrade claims Chichester District Council’s (CDC) refusal to sell him land for car parking could result in a serious accident.
Kevin Byrne employs 290 people on the Ellis Square development site and said the expanding business had led to a parking issue with many employees parking on Manor Road, one of the main gateways to Selsey.
Mr Byrne planned to expand, employing a further 110 people, and held meetings with Selsey town councillors and CDC’s economic development officers to try and resolve the parking issues. CDC was selling another plot on Ellis Square and it was suggested it should be valued for use as a car park.
“Local councillors and CDC’s own officers were all very supportive and Checkatrade offered £120,000, the full valuation price for an acre of the land,” said Mr Byrne. But at a behind closed doors meeting, CDC’s cabinet decided to sell it to another company for development.
“It is my opinion the decision is very short sighted and shows a distinct lack of care for Selsey and its residents. For the sake of extra money, lives are being seriously put at risk and 110 new jobs in Selsey have been lost,” Mr Byrne said.
“It’s a massive slap in my face after all I have achieved and a massive spanner in the whole future of Checkatrade.”
Mr Bryne said he would not continue with plans to expand. “But much more serious than this, there is the potential of a serious accident.”
A CDC spokesman said: “We have kept Checkatrade updated throughout the process. We have worked with Checkatrade to find a solution which has included discussing the various grant funding options open to the company. We will continue to work with them to resolve this issue. We understand the company’s disappointment but cabinet made the decision based on several factors and members were keen to do the best for everyone.”
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