Brentwood multi-retailer forced to close as it's 'not an essential store'
- Credit: Barry Rose
A multi-retailer has been ordered by Brentwood Council to close because it does not qualify as an essential store.
The Emporium in Warley Hill was visited by a council officer on Thursday, February 4. The store had been uncategorised and owner Barry Rose was immediately served a prohibition notice.
An appeal lodged on Monday has now been rejected as the council says it classifies as a homeware store.
Barry said: "Eighty per cent of what we sell is tools, cleaning products, hygiene products, lightbulbs, a bit of everything.
"I am shocked that this has happened 10 months into the pandemic and not being able to browse will affect trade."
Barry says that his store is like a small Wilko or Robert Dyas, homeware multi-retailers that have been allowed to stay open.
The council says its decision follows clarification by the government in December about which businesses could remain open during lockdown.
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Council leader Chris Hossack said: “I have every sympathy for Barry Rose and the customers for whom I know The Emporium is a much loved shop.
"The frustration is that I know The Emporium provides a valuable local service to customers. However, it does not fall into the strict categories set out in law, try as I did to argue the case.
"Council officers must ensure compliance with the strict Covid-19 legal requirements and I have to respect their professional and legal judgement.
"I have spoken with Barry to try to resolve this, but we cannot overrule the law as it stands. We are working very closely with The Emporium to ensure that it can trade within the letter of the law through Click and Collect and there is additional grant funding available, which The Emporium will now receive before the end of this week."
Council officers are now seeking further legal advice as to whether action should be taken against similar stores that remain open in the borough.
To use the click and collect service visit: facebook.com/brentwoodemporium