Defiant Stoke-on-Trent carpet shop boss faces showdown with council over staying open in lockdown


A carpet shop boss who’s kept his store open in defiance of the lockdown faces a showdown with the council’s Covid enforcers. 

Healeys Carpets has been open throughout the most recent restrictions, despite the rules saying homeware stores such as furniture and carpet retailers should not be open to the public. 

But co-owner John Barrass says his customers are happy for him to be open for business, and he’s had no complaints.

He said he’d had conversations with PCSOs from nearby Burslem police station and they hadn’t mentioned he shouldn’t be open.

And he says when he rang Stoke-on-Trent City Council to ask why a disabled bay had been put outside his shop, no-one raised any issue then, either.

But today the council said it had received a complaint at the end of last week and has now told Mr Barrass to close. 

A spokesman said if they found it open during a visit on Tuesday, it would be ordered to shut.

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Mr Barrass said: “I’m a stone’s throw from Burslem Police Station and if they haven’t got an issue then I haven’t either. The PCSOs walk past everyday. I haven’t got anything outside for sale, my doors are just open.

“I was on the phone to the council on Monday morning asking why I’ve got a six-metre disabled bay outside now because I thought I was getting a loading bay which is what I need. But they didn’t say I should be closed.

“If anybody has an issue with me being open then they should come and tell me.

“My doors are open. I’ve spoken to each of my customers individually to see if they’re comfortable with me being open and they are. I’ve still got fitters going out to measure up with people.

“I had the police here on Friday and I was speaking to them and they didn’t say anything. It’s probably somebody else who has closed and because I’m open they’re complaining.”

Customer Roger Holdcroft was delighted to find Healeys Carpets open when he called in yesterday.

The 53-year-old, from Burslem, said: “People need materials to finish jobs. My daughter is decorating her place and needs to get the carpets in before Christmas.”

Staffordshire Police have not commented on the case.

A council spokesman said: “We received a complaint on Friday about this shop being open. We visited and issued some advice to them that they needed to close.

“We are going to visit on Tuesday and if they are open will be ordering them to close.”





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