Car firm branch site sold to store
CAR dealership Vospers is pulling out of Liskeard after selling its branch to a supermarket.
But the firm stressed it wanted to stay in the Cornish town, now earmarked for regeneration under a scheme masterminded by retail guru Mary Portas, but was unable to find "the right premises at the right price".
Bosses are still in talks about potential sites but have ruled out building a new base and are making plans to relocate 10 Liskeard staff to Vospers sites in Tavistock, St Austell and the large Plymouth centre at Marsh Mills.
Vospers chairman Peter Vospers said the Liskeard site was sold to supermarket chain Aldi two years ago but the car dealership had been allowed to stay until now.
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He said a hunt for a new base had failed to find an alternative, despite help from the town council, and Vospers will leave the town when the branch closes at the end of September.
"We have had a frustrating time finding the right premises at the right price," Mr Vosper said.
"We did believe there would be a number of options for us but one or two of the options we thought would come to fruition did not."
But he added: "We have still got an open mind and right up to the last minute there are a couple of people we are still talking to, but are not in any agreement with."
This year, Liskeard was chosen as one of 12 towns to feature in a £1.2million vanguard scheme headed by Ms Portas to revitalise high streets.
It will receive £100,000 and expert industry advice.
Mr Vosper said: "Liskeard is going through some changes. It will be interesting to see if Mary Portas can revitalise it.
"There is a lot of optimism about that. There are a lot of people there that are waiting to see what's going on and hoping there's a good future."
Mr Vospers said the firm would consider operating a servicing and used-car centre in Liskeard, but said new-car sales would be centralised at Marsh Mills, which was attracting buyers from Cornwall in any case.
He said building a new base in Liskeard would be "too expensive to make it a viable proposition."
But he stressed the move from the town wouldn't jeopardise other "long-term expansion plans".
Among staff relocating, Darren Harvey, who oversees the Liskeard branch, will take over from Sue Cork, at Tavistock, who is retiring.
Liskeard customers will be offered a £10 contribution towards travelling costs and a collection and delivery service will be available.