Ghost town shops say ‘we are open’

Winstanley Precinct
Winstanley Precinct

IT looks like a ghost town, but this shopping district is very much open.

Business owners in Winstanley Precinct are angry at landlords Mullins Holland Group (MHG) about the state of the area while improvement works are carried out.

People are not coming to us because they assume we are closed as there are no signs to say Businesses Open As Usual

Abdul Rahmin

When the precinct was acquired by Altrincham-based Hollins Murray Group in 2012, it announced it planned to completely re-vamp the site in Holmes House Avenue, which had become more unsightly over the years.

The 11-unit neighbourhood centre includes tenants such as the Co-operative, McColl’s, hair salons The Cutting Crew and Michelle Lilley Hairdressers, Winstanley Dry Cleaners and The Sun and Beauty Rooms.

But traders in the precinct say they have had no support as scaffolding surrounds all their shops, no parking facilities or lighting, and there are no signs to say Businesses Open As Usual.

As a result, they claim they are losing custom.

Abdul Rahmin, owner of Hamraz Indian Restaurant, said: “It is disgusting and totally wrong what MHG are doing.

“There is no car park so people have no where to leave their cars. Builders have dug up along the side of our shops so there is no pathway for people to come to us, so they have to park on the main road and walk to us.

“We have to park around the back and walk all the way round - we should not have to do that,

“Scaffolding is a problem as it dangerous. Youngsters climb up it and I know of at least two occasions where someone has tripped up over it.

“We told MHG to put netting over it three weeks ago but nothing has been done.

“And people are not coming to us because they assume we are closed as there are no signs to say Businesses Open As Usual.

“MHG don’t want to know – they just want our rent – but when custom is falling, how can we pay the rent?”

Tina Collins, who works at Winstanley Bar and Grill, said: “We are losing trade – we have had to shut up early as we can’t afford to pay the staff.

“And this is not just about losing trade – the site is dangerous as there is no lighting. When it is dark staff and customers can’t see a thing.

“This is causing non-stop problems but MHG is refusing to meet with us.”

When contacted by the Evening Post, MHG refused to comment.