AM Online

Bolton Labour Party leader rebukes 'threats' over Volvo showroom plans

Planning officials in Bolton gave way to Volvo Car UK corporate identity (CI) demands after alleged "threats" over the potential withdrawal of a scheme to build a new showroom in the city.

Bolton Council officials agreed to allow overnight lighting for security reasons and opening hours of 7.30am until 8pm from Monday to Saturday and 10am to 6pm on Sundays after originally flagging up the need for restrictions as conditions of planning approval for the development.

The compromise was struck after Matthew Wyatt, senior planner at PWA Planning, wrote to members of the planning committee on behalf of the applicant Euro Garages.

The Bolton News newspaper reported that, at Bolton’s first virtual committee meeting held online via video conference on Thursday (June 25), Wyatt said: “These matters are absolute deal-breakers.”

He added: “Volvo will have to walk away, as has been said, if they’re not allowed to implement security measures as there’s no way their stock would be covered by insurers.”

The Bolton News reported that Cllr Nick Peel, the leader of Bolton Labour Party, accused the applicant of making “threats” to committee members.

However, their requests were granted after he said that he was “sympathetic” to the request for standard opening hours and recognised the need for lighting as a security measure.

Cllr Peel said: “I don’t appreciate threats being made to this committee or this planning authority.

“You don’t send emails to members of the committee saying you either do what we tell you to do or we will pull out our multi-million-pound investment and take it elsewhere.”

Work is already underway to develop the new Bolton showroom and an adjoining service centre at the former United Utilities site off Manchester Road, Bolton.

The development is set to deliver businesses which support 42 jobs.

AM webinar: The AM Motor Retail Review (Monday July 6 at 2pm)

This 45-minute webinar will discuss the UK motor retail industry’s achievements in the first month of trading since lockdown ended for England’s car dealers, including:

· June’s new car registrations and used car opportunities.

· The lessons learned from social distanced trading.

· How dealers balance the return to trading and their need to limit their costs.

· Prospects for Q3 and critical steps for success.

Chaired by AM editor Tim Rose, his invited guests will include senior executives of AM100 dealers, suppliers and OEMs, who’ll share their own experiences since lockdown ended and outline some ways dealers can sustain their business recovery.

Rose said: “This is a crucial moment for UK motor retail. The new car registrations data from the first month since lockdown will tell us how strongly the industry is fighting back, and there’ll be feedback on how customers and staff are coping with new processes and PPE in showrooms.

“The lessons of the last few weeks must help motor retail prepare for Q3 and the looming plate-change campaign.”

Guest speakers signed up so far:

Tim Duckers, Cambria Automobiles

Duckers is the motor division managing director of AM100 motor retailer Cambria Automobiles, working alongside chief executive Mark Lavery to lead a portfolio of franchised dealerships from volume mainstream such as Vauxhall and premium brands such as Jaguar Land Rover to high luxury brands such as Bentley and Rolls Royce.

Steve Le Bas, BDO

Le Bas is the head of motor retail at accountants and business advisers BDO. He has some 20 years’ experience working with motor trade clients, including statutory audits, assisting their internal accounting functions and conducting due diligence assignments for prospective motor trade purchasers.

Dale Wyatt, Suzuki GB

As head of automobile at Suzuki GB, Wyatt is responsible for the brand health of Suzuki cars and splits his time between working with the UK management team, Suzuki’s dealer network and the parent company in Japan.

Ian Plummer, Auto Trader

Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, joined the car sales platform in 2017 after heading sales operations and franchise management at Volkswagen UK and before 15 years at Renault in roles at both the UK sales company and the head office in Paris.


Click here for manufacturer best practice and procurement insight

If you are not a registered user your comment will go to AM for approval before publishing. To avoid this requirement please login.

Comment as guest

Login  /  Register


No comments have been made yet.