Published: 16:18, 09 October 2019
| Updated: 18:34, 09 October 2019
Dozens of jobs at three superstores are at risk of being lost due to a council's plan to relocate its headquarters.
Canterbury City Council wants to demolish Carpets 4 Less, Bamboo Tiger and Beds 4 Us on the Wincheap Industrial Estate.
After flattening the stores, a state-of-the-art council base will be built at the site - with the authority planning on operating from a sustainable, zero-carbon home.
The managing director of Beds 4 Us has described his shock at receiving a letter from the council informing him his store was set to be bulldozed.
Peter Cosgrove, who has been running the store for 14 years, says he only found out last Friday that his shop, along with Carpets 4 Less and Bamboo Tiger, had been chosen as the local authority's preferred site for its new HQ.
He said: "I was gutted for my staff mainly. They have got their livelihoods depending on it."
The demolition of the stores would see 10 jobs lost at Beds 4 Us, 13 at Carpets 4 Less and 12 at Bamboo Tiger.
Mr Cosgrove says his lease is up in 18 months, while Bamboo Tiger's ends in two years and Carpets 4 Us in 12 months.
He added: "We would like to stay if we could. But there's not a lot we can do about it. The council seems to have made up their mind.
"I have invested £160,000 into the building which was a mess when we got it. But I wouldn't get any of that back if it was demolished."
As well as redundancy costs, the firm also faces an expensive bill to clear the 240 beds in the store.
The council, however, is set to press ahead with preparations for the move. Members at tonight's policy and resources committee meeting are expected to allocate a budget of £2 million to cover the planning stage.
Reports state the £2 million will help fund the project through the initial planning phase to carry out surveys, apply for permission and refine the design.
Wincheap's Lib Dem councillor Nick Eden-Green is uneasy about the proposed cost.
“The costs look extremely questionable,” he said.
“It’s a lot of money at a time when we don’t know the future requirement of council offices.
“If we bring waste collection social housing operations in-house then are we not going to need more people based there?
“For the council to be seen spending such a large sum, questions need to be asked. I really don’t know what that money would be spent on - I want to see a breakdown of the costs.”
KentOnline has asked the council for a breakdown of the finances but the authority has not provided it.
Follow Kentish Gazette's Twitter account tonight for updates on council's decision.