A BEWDLEY councillor has left a bitter taste in the mouth of a cake shop boss after suggesting she quit her shop and leave town in a row of over a new medical centre.
Labour’s Paul Gittins reduced Kimberley Bennett to tears after he told her she could shut her successful Load Street business when she voiced her concerns about the loss of parking the new surgery would create .
Miss Bennett, who opened Kimmy Loves Cake Bake Shop just over two years ago, spoke to Mr Gittins about her fears after a Wyre Forest District Council planning meeting on Tuesday last week, at which the centre was given the go-ahead.
Miss Bennett had been furious the town council had backed the ambitious plans despite fears from businesses that it could hit trade in the town but was left stunned by Mr Gittins’ response .
“I went to the planning meeting to hear the decision on the medical centre and after that I got into conversation with Paul Gittins and when I told him how concerned I was about the new medical centre he said ‘if you don’t like it, put your house on the market, leave the town and shut your business’, at which point I was quite upset and I walked away,” Miss Bennett explained.
“I was really upset because I have worked really, really hard to get this business up and running. It wasn’t very nice for him to tell me to just leave . I was shocked and surprised at his reaction.
“I have lived here for six years. I bought my first home here and I love it here so when someone tells you to leave it’s almost like you’re not important but all businesses are important in the town.”
Miss Bennett, who ran her business from her Dowles Road home for 18 months before opening her cake shop, said Mr Gittins had apologised to her the following day, adding she was still disappointed the former mayor stood by what he had said.
“It’ s hard to set up a business and do well, “ she explained. “As a town councillor and someone who represents a particular party he should know that that’s not the type of thing you should say to people .
“You don’t expect anyone to say that to you, never mind someone who is supposed to be representing the town.”
She said she still had “massive concerns” about the effect the new medical centre would have on her trade when it is built in the town’s Dog Lane car park, taking up 99 parking spaces.
She added: “It’s really important that people have parking in the town. I was disappointed that the town council backed the decision for the medical centre.
"Despite people who expressed their concerns about parking issues, they still decided it was a good thing.”
Mr Gittins, recently named as a Diamond Champion for dedicating his time to others, said: “I have spoken to Kimberley. I have apologised and as far as I’m concerned it’s the end of the matter .”