We would like to lay to rest some misconceptions concerning the three shops, Beachcombers Hair Salon, Robert Baker & Company Accountants and Pritchards Embroidery at the northern end of Ferry Road.
First of all, as we have repeatedly said, we would desperately like to see the refurbishment of Ferry Road, and do not want it left in its current condition. However, we do want to keep the parking area in front of our shops.
The second misconception is that we have held up this project. We have not. We shouldn’t have had to find out that the council intended to change the use of our parking to pavement at the public exhibition at the Waterside Inn, where, when we queried this with the designers, BDP, we were told: “We are well aware that you own the land but you need to speak to your council.”
We then spent months trying to find the leader of the project, emailing the council and either being ignored or sent in the wrong direction.
If Adur District Council had done its job properly and consulted the landowners and traders of Ferry Road (as is required by law) then perhaps we wouldn’t be having these problems at this late stage.
Bob Baker and John Pritchard used to run the businesses in Shoreham High Street, but as the complaints from our customers/clients about the lack of parking became more frequent, we had to listen, as without our customers/clients we would have no businesses.
The shops in Ferry Road are perfect as they give us the parking that we needed. Our deeds show ownership of the parking area and we are registered at the Land Registry as the owners.
Naturally this was reflected in the price we had to pay for these shops and more time and expense was needed to refurbish them to suit our business needs. In the case of Bob Baker it was from a grocers to an office, in the case of John Pritchard, it was from a butchers into an embroidery shop. Helen from Beachcombers Hair Salon has also put a great deal of time, effort and money into her business.
It is extremely frustrating then to be referred to by Shoreham Beach Residents Association (SBRA) and councillor Liza McKinney as ‘just three shops’. These shops provide our livelihoods and the livelihoods of our staff, in fact, that small parade provides employment for 23 people.
Now, we are really sorry that SBRA and Cllr McKinney are so upset that we want to keep what we have paid for (out of our own pockets), as parking for our customers and our clients.
However, this does not give them the right to treat our livelihoods or the livelihoods of our employees (some of whom have been with Bob Baker for over 20 years) with such a cavalier attitude, nor does it give them the right to refer to us as just three shops, as if we don’t matter. In fact we do matter, you see, Adur District Council does not own that land, SBRA don’t own that land and neither does Cllr McKinney. We find their sense of entitlement to do as they wish with someone else’s property, quite frankly, downright offensive.
Back in April, we sent an email to councillor Ben Stride, councillor Mick Clark and councillor McKinney inviting them to a meeting with us to discuss the matter. Councillor Stride and councillor Clark attended that meeting. Councillor McKinney did not. She didn’t even have the courtesy to answer our email.
As we all want the Ferry Road enhancement scheme to go ahead, albeit in slightly different forms, wouldn’t it have been better to work in harmony with each other rather than have this ridiculous situation of ‘them and us’ that has been created?
We didn’t ask for any of this. We were quietly getting on with running our businesses, not causing offence to anyone and offering our services to our community.
How very sad that we have been put in the position of having to fight for what we legally own.
Beachcombers Hair Salon
Robert Baker & Company
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