Posted by: westlancashirerecord | December 4, 2017

Big Brother Bothers Broughs Beef

    Is Big Brother now at work for WLBC? Anyone reading the Champion front page report might wonder why WLBC officials visited Broughs Butchers for the first time in 13 years to question the company having the authority to set up its stall outside its premises for the Christmas lights event, being nudged into a two metre space by a mobile fast food operation. For all we know the one off fee paid by the fast food operation outweighed the full year of business rates Brough Butchers pays WLBC, year in year out?

Brough wrote “What an absolutely disgrace West Lancashire Borough Council are, tonight it was our Christmas light swith on which every year we have supported and done our annual bbq, today we were told we didn’t have permission to do it which we have never been told before we needed it, the council have always said it’s OK, so after a few discussions they said they will turn a blind eye, what they decided to do was to put a big marquee right in front of our shop so we couldn’t really trade”.

And later, Brough reported “After a disastrous Christmas light switch on last night we have a large quantity of barms left over and would like to give them to a food shelter or food bank can anyone recommend somewhere for us to drop off, thank you for all your comments and support last night many thanks”. Perhaps fast food operations are as generous?

In its recent accounts WLBC declares profits of £17,000 on the Market and £265,000 on Car Parks for 2016/17. The Market profits increased from £8,000 and the Car Parks decreased from £388,000 in the previous year. What’s wrong at the Car Parks? People driving out of Ormskirk to shop elsewhere? And more to the point, 19,000 people read about this “Rate paying shop v Mobile fast food stall” incident on the Brough Facebook. How will they respond?

This story, business rates versus cheap market fees, will run and run, coming as it does with the latest news of the jobs exodus from Skelmersdale and the loss of yet more business rates?


  1. Would Cllr Hodson care to comment on this article?

    • Would any councillor care to comment? Labour, Tory, OWL, all views would be welcome on how and why Broughs was treated in this way. Is this the future for small shopkeepers in West Lancashire?

      • There is to be an official press release about the Switch on so before responding from my own understanding I will check the details and come back with a more informed response.

        Cllr. JE Hodson.

      • Thanks for that. This matter goes beyond the particular complaint made by Broughs. Isn’t it a matter of principle, that IF the elected members have a policy of fairness to shopkeepers on business rates, why would an officer attend Broughs and ask for authorisation? Broughs mention betrayal, disgust, insult, no respect, no support, shocking, all directed at WLBC. Years of top class trading in Ormskirk, and it comes down to trading insults! Let’s see what the outcome is, Broughs deserve a front page response.

  2. The Christmas lights switch on event is considered to be a success despite the inclement weather with almost double the footfall of previous years, with a wide range of market stalls open from 4 pm featuring food, crafts, local retailers and market traders from the Thursday and Saturday markets held in Ormskirk throughout the year.
    In terms of Broughs’ specific comments, they have only recently taken up occupation of their new premises in Moor Street from 2016. In that year a marquee had been located in the centre of Moor Street in the vicinity of Broughs.
    No general permissions have been granted for retailers to trade outside of their premises, particularly at the Christmas Lights switch on event in Ormskirk town centre, notwithstanding a small number of cafes/licensed premises who have Planning Permissions granted for pavement cafes in front of their premises. there are no such permissions in place with respect to Broughs’ retail operation.
    Had Broughs approached the Council in advance to discuss their proposals, and been able to show they could meet all statutory requirements surrounding these proposals, WLBC would have worked to accommodate them alongside other food retailers on the night. However, Broughs did not contact the Council in advance to advise them of their intentions.
    The footway directly fronting Broughs premises was left unobstructed as normal and as such Broughs were not prevented from trading. A hot food van was not placed directly in front of their shop, however, there was gazebo placed in Moor Street alongside other traders, in a position as usually occupied by market stalls on the Thursday and Saturday markets, which fronted their premises. As there are limited electric supply points in Moor Street, stall holders had to be kept close together in order for the electricity supply to be available without presenting any trip hazards from uncovered cables.
    The Council works closely with partners, including local businesses, on the Town Centre Management Group to help promote Ormskirk and to ensure the town has an even more vibrant future through achieving the aims of the Ormskirk Town Centre Strategy.

    Cllr. JE Hodson
    Portfolio for Planning

    • Thanks for replying, but why is it always the retailer’s fault? The council should have regular communications with retailers. When the council asked retailers for contributions for the Christmas lights last year, how much did they receive, Cllr Hodson? The budget figures in council papers imply they received nothing.

  3. That is not the case at all, with such a mixed range of different types of business, retail, catering etc. Ormskirk is no different than other Market Towns and not everyone is going to agree or be ‘on board’ The aim is to work with as many businesses through the Town Centre Management Group of which people can opt in or otherwise. To try and get everyone happy with such a wide range is not an easy task especially with something which is a relatively new initiative. At least we are trying to do something positive unlike our previous administration who don’t seem to even understand the basics of business and commerce! Not too sure what the situation is with donations but will look into it.

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