Cyclist in plea to MP Julie Marson over closure of Halfords in Bishop's Stortford
A keen cyclist is calling on the town's elected representatives to step in after Halfords announced it was closing its Bishop's Stortford shop.
Staff at the South Street outlet received notices of redundancy at the weekend – despite the coronavirus pandemic sparking a huge rise in bicycle use and the shop being allowed to open during lockdowns as it is deemed an essential retailer.
The shop sells bicycles and accessories and carries out servicing and repairs. Customer Dr Gareth Oakland said that the closure decision was short-sighted.
"I was saddened to hear that the Halfords in the town centre is to close and the staff made redundant," he said.
"This seems incredibly short-sighted as the explosion in bike use during the pandemic should be supported.
"There is now no bike shop in the town centre. The young team were so good at bike maintenance and must be devastated."
Gareth, who cycled 3,000 miles last year, messaged Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson and town councillor Louie Corpe asking them to intervene.
As yet he has not received a reply from Mrs Marson, but Cllr Corpe said that although the council was helping to facilitate cycling in town, with more cycle routes and new signage, he did not believe it could do anything about commercial decisions by individual businesses.
Halfords announced in July that it was closing up to 60 of its stores and garages, warning it suffered a £10m loss as Covid-19 had "materially changed the retail outlook".
A spokesman for the company said: “As we announced last July, we were always planning to exit a small percentage of our stores and this includes our Bishop's Stortford store on South Street.
"We are working hard to support all of those affected and are hopeful of being able to offer those colleagues one of a wide range of new service-orientated roles at alternative locations.”
Bishop's Stortford still has Bakers Bikes on the Southmill Trading Centre in Southmill Road.