A Shopmobility service based in a supermarket in Shipley, near Bradford, shut last week as a result of a major rent hike imposed by Asda, leaving residents and councillors at a loss.
That’s according to claims made by a local report, which said the supermarket chain has asked for £8,000 annual rent, replacing the annual £26 peppercorn rent the Shopmobility previously paid.
The mobility service, which is run by Bradford Council, has been operating since 1996 and has now had to relocate to a temporary base until the new permanent premises can be adapted.
According to a local newspaper, Shopmobility’s lease in Asda ended in July 2016 and supermarket agents were told to negotiate a £8,000 annual rent which would increase ever year.
Councillor Martin Love told the Telegraph & Argus that the decision is “ridiculous.”
“Asda are cutting their nose off to spite their face. It has been run for years and years, there has been no issue over it. It has been great for Asda and great for customers. It is a bad move all round.”
Meanwhile, Shipley MP Philip Davies has written to Asda’s chief executive scolding the move.
A spokesperson for the supermarket chain, which was praised last year for its commitment to Changing Places facilities, said: “While we are disappointed that Bradford Council has decided to move the Shopmobility facility we will continue to provide assistance to our customers with mobile scooters and specialised trolleys available to allow them to conveniently shop in store.”
Bradford Council has created temporary arrangements for Shopmobility customers.
A spokesperson said: “The service is to be relocated within Shipley Library due to the Asda lease ending. The service will be unavailable in Shipley for a few weeks until the necessary work is completed within the library to host the service. All customers have been advised of the temporary closure and apologies given for any inconvenience caused.”
Shopmobility services, which hire out mobility equipment for very low rates or for free, have been closing across the UK in recent months because of intense funding pressures.