Plans have been submitted for a dry cleaning, key cutting, shoe and watch repairs kiosk to be built in Tesco car park.
The venture is a joint one between Timpson and Tesco and similar ‘pods’ can be seen in similar locations across the UK.
It would be installed next to the drop-off zone outside the store and open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
A statement submitted with the planning application says: “We believe that the site has adequate capacity for this proposal, even at the busiest time of the year.
“We do not believe the proposed retail pod will affect the egress/ingress routes of the store or car park and we do not think there will be any impact on local transport.”
Owners of Uckfield businesses providing the same services have objected to the plans.
Glen Dixon, of Bell Walk Dry Cleaning in Bell Walk, says, in a letter to Wealden Council which will make a decision on the planning application, that the new business will undoubtedly cause a dissipation of trade from the existing four business that already provide the same services that Timpsons wish to provide.
“I am quite sure that such dissipation of trade, with the resultant loss of turnover, will cause a loss of staff in the existing business, and therefore the result will be a net loss of employment in Uckfield of probably two to three persons.”
Cobbler and locksmith
Adam Notman of Soleman cobblers and locksmiths, in Bell Walk, writes that his business struggled during the year-long, council enforced High Street ‘improvements’ in 2016 but thankfully survived.
“Now I face a ‘chain business’ applying to settle under the umbrella of Tesco. This is a chain that has previously occupied a location in Uckfield High Street and which pulled out many years ago.
“Should this chain be allowed to establish a business, purpose-built for them on Tesco premises, there will be six independent businesses in Uckfield High Street put at risk.
“That is potentially ten families who will struggle to make ends meet, and the possibility long-term for six premises to be vacated. I would lose everything if my business were forced to close due to lack of custom.”
Matt Wale of MyPhoneFix, in Church Street, writes: “Timpson not only do shoe and watch repairs they will also be doing iPhone repairs.
“We already have two shops doing phone repairs, one of which is mine and has been over for five years, plus you have people doing it from home.
“Then we already have two cobblers, and we have jewellers doing watch repairs in the town.
“This will be very detrimental to all of our businesses . We are already suffering a downturn on the high street, and we’ve only just got over the pavement fiasco.
“I ask that this is turned down in the interest of our small mainly independent high street.”