Business blows a ‘sad day’ for South Tyneside – but politicians say there is hope

B&Q South Shields to close
B&Q South Shields to close

Political leaders says the closure of three South Tyneside businesses – putting scores of jobs in doubt – is a major ‘blow for the borough’.

DIY chain B&Q announced plans to shut its South Shields store yesterday, while both The Robin Hood pub, in Roman Road Jarrow, and The Maltings pub, in Claypath Lane, South Shields, ceased trading on Wednesday night after a brewery boss was declared bankrupt.

The Robin Hood

The Robin Hood

Jarrow Brewery director Jess McConnell finally admitted defeat in his bid to keep both watering holes open after months of financial troubles.

Jarrow Brewery, based in Bede Industrial Estate, slumped into administration in April due to cashflow problems.

Then last month, Jarrow Breweries Limited – which was formed in its place – also entered administration. Mr McConnell now faces having to make up to 15 members of staff redundant.

He made the gloomy announcement on the same day that B&Q confirmed its branch in Secretan Way, South Shields, would shut in the next financial year, as part of a nationwide closure programme.

The Maltings

The Maltings

Staff have been told jobs may be made available for them at other stores – but they are left in limbo until firm news is revealed.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said: “This is obviously a big disappointment for the employees and the town. I have spoken to B&Q and had strong assurances that they will be doing everything they can to redeploy staff locally, and I will be staying in close contact with them between now and the store’s closure.

“I am also optimistic that we will be able to attract a new business to use the premises so that the space isn’t left dormant. As always, I am determined to do everything I can to bring businesses and jobs to Shields.”

Councillor John Anglin, lead member for economy and regeneration on South Tyneside Council, said: “Of course it is very sad news when any business closes their doors. This latest announcement is a blow for the borough, particularly for the staff involved.

“B&Q is closing a number of stores nationally.”

Coun Anglin, however, remains hopeful that local workers will remain employed by the chain.

“However, it is encouraging to know that the local staff may be redeployed within the company.

“We will do all we can to support those affected by the closures to find alternative employment opportunities.

“We appreciate that times are tough for business. However, we continue to drive forward our efforts to attract more private sector investment in South Tyneside.”

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn says the closure of two popular borough pubs is a ‘sad day’ for South Tynesdie.

He said: “It’s a sad day for the borough. The Robin Hood and The Maltings were both great pubs with very loyal followings and I am very disappointed at the news, particularly for the staff.”