Horwich bookshop owners blame Bolton Council as they close and move to Felixstowe

Horwich bookshop owners blame Bolton Council as they close and move to Felixstowe

Helen and Martin Bott in their bookshop

Martin Bott Books, Horwich

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , crime reporter

THE owner of a bookshop which is ending its 15-year stay in Horwich has accused Bolton Council of not doing enough to support businesses.

Martin Bott Bookdealers is leaving its Lee Lane shop in the middle of September, to concentrate its efforts on a second store in Felixstowe, Suffolk.

Owner Martin Bott says the “retail heart of Bolton has been destroyed” and blames aggressive parking policies and the council’s lack of interest in businesses for the decline.

Mr Bott, aged 51, runs his business with wife Helen after starting trading 20 years ago.

He said: “If you go into Bolton the place is dead.

“The council does not seem to do anything to promote business up here. All they seem to do is whinge. The rates up here should be a lot more realistic and we should get something back.

“The retail heart of Bolton has been destroyed but all the council does is blame the Trafford Centre or Middlebrook.”

He added: “The council here is very anti-car and is constantly trying to get money out of drivers.

“They seem obsessed with getting parking charges out of people but they are driving people away from the town.”

Mr Bott and his wife have been running the Felixstowe shop for the last year and say there are very few empty outlets in the town by comparison.

Cllr Kevin McKeon, for Horwich North East, said: “Town centres are struggling everywhere at the moment because of the economic downturn.

“Horwich is a traditional smaller town centre but it does have some very attractive businesses. Other councillors and myself have been chatting with business people and we want to work with them to try and help them. There are signs of vibrancy.”

He added that Horwich Town Council is trying to establish a Traders’ Association, while area forum funds were recently used to pay for Horwich businesses to have stalls at Middlebrook’s food and drink festival.

Cllr McKeon is also hoping to use Horwich’s £75,000 town centre fund to offer prospective businesses starting-up grants — but this scheme is yet to be agreed.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We are always happy to advise and work with businesses. There is unlimited free parking in Horwich town centre, and we invest a dedicated pot of money into Horwich each year to improve the area.

“However, some factors are simply outside of our control such as the setting of business rates, which is done by national government.”

Comments (16)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:10am Tue 12 Aug 14

heaton watcher says...

Why didn't he move to Chorley?!
Why didn't he move to Chorley?! heaton watcher
  • Score: 18

8:19am Tue 12 Aug 14

Bob Shaftoe says...

Sorry to here about this, but the fact is there is no recession in the south east and few Tory cuts. I have family down there and visit regularly, the town centre where they live is booming.

A totally different world from what us plebs up north have to put up with.
Sorry to here about this, but the fact is there is no recession in the south east and few Tory cuts. I have family down there and visit regularly, the town centre where they live is booming. A totally different world from what us plebs up north have to put up with. Bob Shaftoe
  • Score: 24

9:06am Tue 12 Aug 14

MarkAllRead says...

I think that the internet and the kindle have had more to do with the declining sales of a bookshop, than Bolton council have.
I think that the internet and the kindle have had more to do with the declining sales of a bookshop, than Bolton council have. MarkAllRead
  • Score: 15

9:08am Tue 12 Aug 14

filthy6 says...

All his comments are directed at Bolton town centre and yet his shop is in Horwich, its well outside the so called retail heart of Bolton and where there is free parking. Sounds like his arguement doesn't hold water?
All his comments are directed at Bolton town centre and yet his shop is in Horwich, its well outside the so called retail heart of Bolton and where there is free parking. Sounds like his arguement doesn't hold water? filthy6
  • Score: 14

9:44am Tue 12 Aug 14

billyexpat says...

Horwich again!

Beware Chorley these people who want to become part of your town will never be satisfied but you are very welcome to take them into your perfect little town.

6:00am Wednesday 12th March 2014 in News

SMALL businesses in Bolton are set to benefit from a £1,000 discount in business rates.
Bolton Council’s cabinet rubber-stamped a government offer to reduce the rates for small companies — including pubs, shops, restaurants and cafes — with a rateable value of £50,000 or less.
It also backed plans to give a 50 per cent discount to businesses that move into a unit which has been empty for a year or more and make all newly-built commercial properties exempt from empty property rates for up to 18 months.
Chief executive of Bolton Council Sean Harriss said the step was a good move.
He added: “Any initiative that reduces costs for businesses in the current economic climate is welcome. We hope it will stimulate the local economy.”
Alex McVey, manager of Odessa Cafe in Exchange Street, said his business will benefit from the discount, but he thinks more needs to be done to help independent companies in Bolton.
He added: “Anything helps. One thousand pounds is not insignificant but it needs to be more.
“Shops are closing for a reason, and for independent business like me it’s hard work.”
Dave Jones, managing director of Bolton-based Progressive Business Mentoring which works with companies across the region, welcomed the news but warned it might not be enough to transform the fortunes of the high street.
He said businesses are currently being unfairly bracketed at pre-recession, 2008 rates, and that a government decision to postpone re-evaluating them until 2017 is damaging Bolton companies.
He added: “This announcement about a discount in business rates certainly is welcome, but more needs to be done.”
Bolton Council announced in October it had set aside £1.5m to encourage more businesses to open.
As part of the ‘business support scheme’, companies could receive grants of £20,000 or more if they took over empty units.
Peter McGeehan, who runs Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe in Horwich, said he was forced to close his second shop in Bolton town centre because rents and business rates were too high.
He said: “This announcement about the rates grant would help us to get back to where we want to be, with another shop in Bolton town centre.”

Book sales are in decline, they have had a good run since they took over from stone tablets and scrolls The electronic display devices are for now.
Horwich again! Beware Chorley these people who want to become part of your town will never be satisfied but you are very welcome to take them into your perfect little town. 6:00am Wednesday 12th March 2014 in News SMALL businesses in Bolton are set to benefit from a £1,000 discount in business rates. Bolton Council’s cabinet rubber-stamped a government offer to reduce the rates for small companies — including pubs, shops, restaurants and cafes — with a rateable value of £50,000 or less. It also backed plans to give a 50 per cent discount to businesses that move into a unit which has been empty for a year or more and make all newly-built commercial properties exempt from empty property rates for up to 18 months. Chief executive of Bolton Council Sean Harriss said the step was a good move. He added: “Any initiative that reduces costs for businesses in the current economic climate is welcome. We hope it will stimulate the local economy.” Alex McVey, manager of Odessa Cafe in Exchange Street, said his business will benefit from the discount, but he thinks more needs to be done to help independent companies in Bolton. He added: “Anything helps. One thousand pounds is not insignificant but it needs to be more. “Shops are closing for a reason, and for independent business like me it’s hard work.” Dave Jones, managing director of Bolton-based Progressive Business Mentoring which works with companies across the region, welcomed the news but warned it might not be enough to transform the fortunes of the high street. He said businesses are currently being unfairly bracketed at pre-recession, 2008 rates, and that a government decision to postpone re-evaluating them until 2017 is damaging Bolton companies. He added: “This announcement about a discount in business rates certainly is welcome, but more needs to be done.” Bolton Council announced in October it had set aside £1.5m to encourage more businesses to open. As part of the ‘business support scheme’, companies could receive grants of £20,000 or more if they took over empty units. Peter McGeehan, who runs Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe in Horwich, said he was forced to close his second shop in Bolton town centre because rents and business rates were too high. He said: “This announcement about the rates grant would help us to get back to where we want to be, with another shop in Bolton town centre.” Book sales are in decline, they have had a good run since they took over from stone tablets and scrolls The electronic display devices are for now. billyexpat
  • Score: -6

10:28am Tue 12 Aug 14

marco999 says...

Gutted that this shop is having to move. They provided a great service to Horwich and to me personally. It is a sad loss.
Gutted that this shop is having to move. They provided a great service to Horwich and to me personally. It is a sad loss. marco999
  • Score: 20

10:51am Tue 12 Aug 14

Harkin about says...

You mean the thousands spent on the Town centre 20mph zone haven't helped to keep businesses local ?, two words why Horwich and Bolton are failing -- Labour Councils !.
You mean the thousands spent on the Town centre 20mph zone haven't helped to keep businesses local ?, two words why Horwich and Bolton are failing -- Labour Councils !. Harkin about
  • Score: 18

11:03am Tue 12 Aug 14

Bob Shaftoe says...

Harkin about wrote:
You mean the thousands spent on the Town centre 20mph zone haven't helped to keep businesses local ?, two words why Horwich and Bolton are failing -- Labour Councils !.
Well said councillor.
[quote][p][bold]Harkin about[/bold] wrote: You mean the thousands spent on the Town centre 20mph zone haven't helped to keep businesses local ?, two words why Horwich and Bolton are failing -- Labour Councils !.[/p][/quote]Well said councillor. Bob Shaftoe
  • Score: 10

12:20pm Tue 12 Aug 14

emptyhead says...

There is just no market for second hand books any more. Get down to any car boot sale and sellers are all but giving them away. I dare say he has a point about the council but the truth is no one will pay bookshop prices any more.
There is just no market for second hand books any more. Get down to any car boot sale and sellers are all but giving them away. I dare say he has a point about the council but the truth is no one will pay bookshop prices any more. emptyhead
  • Score: 1

3:18pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Chrome1 says...

Aw, sad faces. The fact is that they want to blame everyone except themselves. A good business does not need free parking to entice customers. As said before, it's more to do with the Internet and that they look like grumpy sods.
Aw, sad faces. The fact is that they want to blame everyone except themselves. A good business does not need free parking to entice customers. As said before, it's more to do with the Internet and that they look like grumpy sods. Chrome1
  • Score: -5

3:59pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Gore Seer says...

Why Would A Successful Business Need Help?. Council Would Be The Last Place I Would Go, Unless They Were Chucking Money In My Direction.
Why Would A Successful Business Need Help?. Council Would Be The Last Place I Would Go, Unless They Were Chucking Money In My Direction. Gore Seer
  • Score: -2

7:57pm Tue 12 Aug 14

the hand says...

Councillor mckeown town centres are not all like bolton take a look at bury Chorley to name a few lovely places to visit and shop bolton is just a **** hole waiting to be filled with more **** and the Labour council love it as for Mr bott my wife and I have used his shop on many occasions we both have internet and kindles but you can't beat a good book plus Mr bott probably sells books on the internet people do still buy them good luck Mr bott and well done for getting out of the **** hole we were once proud to call bolton
Councillor mckeown town centres are not all like bolton take a look at bury Chorley to name a few lovely places to visit and shop bolton is just a **** hole waiting to be filled with more **** and the Labour council love it as for Mr bott my wife and I have used his shop on many occasions we both have internet and kindles but you can't beat a good book plus Mr bott probably sells books on the internet people do still buy them good luck Mr bott and well done for getting out of the **** hole we were once proud to call bolton the hand
  • Score: 3

8:05pm Tue 12 Aug 14

pradagucci says...

MarkAllRead wrote:
I think that the internet and the kindle have had more to do with the declining sales of a bookshop, than Bolton council have.
Agreed........
[quote][p][bold]MarkAllRead[/bold] wrote: I think that the internet and the kindle have had more to do with the declining sales of a bookshop, than Bolton council have.[/p][/quote]Agreed........ pradagucci
  • Score: 2

12:07am Wed 13 Aug 14

Tomd99 says...

This is nothing to do with kindles and the internet, the shop sells secondhand books which are cheaper than ebooks, it's generally new book shops which are hit by Amazon and kindle sales rising. The issue is about supporting independent businesses in the local area over the last decade, it's all very well having plans for regeneration and recovery in place now, but the damage has already been done, the number of empty shops in a town the size of Bolton is shockingly high!
This is nothing to do with kindles and the internet, the shop sells secondhand books which are cheaper than ebooks, it's generally new book shops which are hit by Amazon and kindle sales rising. The issue is about supporting independent businesses in the local area over the last decade, it's all very well having plans for regeneration and recovery in place now, but the damage has already been done, the number of empty shops in a town the size of Bolton is shockingly high! Tomd99
  • Score: 1

1:18am Wed 13 Aug 14

wsw69 says...

A completely clueless council. Unless it involves persecuting motorists, fining someone for the slightest and most petty of things then Bolton Council clearly don't want to know.

Anything that can bring in vast sums of money quickly in fines by employing dip5h1t Civil Enforcement Officers, who, let's be honest, are unemployable types from what I see roaming and persecuting the town centre populous, then Bolton or Horwich will carry on sliding down the khasi.

Good luck in your new venture. I reckon Sams bar will take over the shop and we will see more full time p155 heads at the junction 7 days a week.

Mr Bott is correct in what he says
A completely clueless council. Unless it involves persecuting motorists, fining someone for the slightest and most petty of things then Bolton Council clearly don't want to know. Anything that can bring in vast sums of money quickly in fines by employing dip5h1t Civil Enforcement Officers, who, let's be honest, are unemployable types from what I see roaming and persecuting the town centre populous, then Bolton or Horwich will carry on sliding down the khasi. Good luck in your new venture. I reckon Sams bar will take over the shop and we will see more full time p155 heads at the junction 7 days a week. Mr Bott is correct in what he says wsw69
  • Score: -1

9:53pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Steven Chadwick says...

So a long standing, successful, Horwich business is to close, just weeks after Bolton Council enforced a 20mph zone on our town driving shoppers away to Bolton or Middlebrook. Good work Councillors!!!
So a long standing, successful, Horwich business is to close, just weeks after Bolton Council enforced a 20mph zone on our town driving shoppers away to Bolton or Middlebrook. Good work Councillors!!! Steven Chadwick
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree