MP calls for High Street Task Force to support shops

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy is calling on the NI Executive’s ‘High Street Task Force’ to work closely with the local Council to create a mechanism to support businesses “through this tough time”.
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Mr Molloy’s comments came after news that Menary’s Tempest store in Cookstown is to close in the New Year.

The outlet at Broadfields Retail Park, off Orritor Road, is estimated to employ over 30 full and part time workers.

It is one of three Tempest stores earmarked for closure - the others are at Omagh and Craigavon’s Rushmere shopping centre.

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy.Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy.
Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy.

The exact date of the closure is yet to be determined.

The Menary store at William Street in the town centre is not affected by the closure.

Mr Molloy said the loss of any business is disappointing.

The Mid Ulster MP added: “Our local towns need support to keep them competitive and our businesses need the necessary empowerment to enable them to survive. I will be liaising with the Council to see about establishing a strategy for our local towns and villages.”

SDLP Councillor Kerri Hughes said she was “very disappointed” at the imminent closure of Tempest Cookstown.

She stressed that she intended raising the matter at the next meeting of the local District Council.

Councillor Hughes said she has also written to the Minister for the Economy, inviting her and her representatives to meet in the town to discuss economic opportunities.

Cookstown Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson said it was “devastating for the staff employed at the Tempest store”.

“The loss of jobs at any time is bad but at the mouth of Christmas it is particularly hard,” he said.

He expressed the hope there would be no more store closures in the town going into the New Year.

“It underlines how precarious businesses on our high streets are at the moment and hopefully this situation can be turned around with proper support from the NI Executive,” he added.

Local DUP Councillor Wilbert Buchanan said the news was “deeply regrettable” for the business community in Cookstown and in Mid Ulster.

“This news comes as a result of their concession partners Arcadia Group going into administration,” said Councillor Buchanan.

“I would ask that customers be respectful of the staff at this difficult time especially regarding gift vouchers that have been purchased.”

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