Workers’ worry as Hartlepool B&Q earmarked for closure

B&Q store Tees Bay Retail Park, Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID
B&Q store Tees Bay Retail Park, Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Staff at the DIY chain on the Tees Bay Retail Park, in Brenda Road, have been told the branch is planned for the axe from next April.

The Hartlepool store is one of 60 planned branch closures nationwide after a drop in profits and as part of a major restructuring by B&Q’s parent company Kingfisher.

The retail chain has not revealed how many people work at the Hartlepool store.

But it says it will try to find jobs for as many staff as possible at other branches and elsewhere in the company, which also owns building supply chain Screwfix.

A B&Q spokesman said: “We have let colleagues at our Hartlepool store know that their store is one of those planned for closure next financial year (2016/17).

“Our focus for the coming months is on redeploying as many colleagues as we can within B&Q and the Kingfisher Group.”

Councillor Kevin Cranney, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “The announcement that Hartlepool’s B&Q store is to close is very disappointing news indeed.

“I note the company’s commitment to focus in coming months on re-deploying as many members of staff as possible within B&Q and the Kingfisher Group, and the council stands ready to work with all parties to do whatever it can to help minimise the effects of the store’s closure.”

Ward councillor Paul Thompson was shocked at the news and fears the loss of B&Q could have knock-on effects for other businesses on the estate.

The Independent Seaton Carew councillor said: “B&Q has been the flagship store that brought in other stores to the Tees Bay estate and it has remained that consistent pin.

“People who go to B&Q invariably shop in the other stores there and vice versa. There is the potential for a knock-on.

“It is terrible for the people who are employed there.”

Coun Thompson, who also sits on the regeneration committee, added: “It has always been a busy store.

“Of all the places you would think might close B&Q would not be it. It means Hartlepool residents are going to have to travel out of town again.

“It doesn’t look good for the future of the town.”

In March, B&Q announced it was to close 60 stores in the UK and Ireland over the next two years.

It was after the parent company posted a 7.5% drop in annual profits to £675 million as annual sales fell by 1.4%.

And on Tuesday, the company announced five stores in Northern Ireland are to go with the expected loss of about 300 jobs.