“We Shall Not Be Moved” – Kwik-Fit
Kwik-Fit is single-handedly holding up the start of Basildon’s £900million town centre regeneration by refusing to move from its centre in Cherrydown East, Basildon. The firm’s refusal to move has hit plans by the Essex Ford Group to sell the site it shares with Kwik Fit, allowing it to be developed into 445 luxury flats, for which developer Western Homes already has planning permission. Essex Ford owns the site and had hoped to relocate its garage and car sales business to Dunton in December.
Basildon Council is now set to use legal powers to buy the site and has now voted to use compulsory purchase powers to force Kwik-Fit out.
However Jo Nola, Kwik Fit’s spokesman, was defiant, saying: “Kwik Fit has no plans to vacate or move. We enjoy a lease of our current property through to December, 2011, and intend to carry on in business in what has proved a successful location over the years.
“Our many customers in the area can be assured of our continuing commitment to the town.”
Steve Horgan, the councillor responsible for regeneration, said that the compulsory purchase order was a last resort, after lengthy negotiations had failed.
But not all councillors agreed with the decision – Labour group leader Nigel Smith voted against the use of legal powers to buy the land. He said: “It seems a pity a successful business, which wants to remain in the town centre, is not able to because it does not fit in with council plans. It is a shame, under the regeneration, a successful business providing jobs is being forced out.”