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Sinkhole puts Northfleet businesses under threat

Shopkeepers at a precinct in Kent are worried they'll go out of business, because people don't realise they're open. Six shops on one side of Lawrence Square in Northfleet had to close when a sinkhole caused their building to subside. But the traders on the other side of the square are still up and running. Andrea Thomas spoke to cake shop owner Christine McGrath.

  1. National

B&Q owner to open 60 new Screwfix stores

Sixty new Screwfix stores are set to open in the next year. Credit: PA

Retail company Kingfisher, which announced today that it will close 60 B&Q stores, has said it will open 60 new Screwfix stores in the UK within the next year.

A spokesman for Kingfisher, the parent company of both DIY stores, said there would be "redeployment opportunities" for 60 percent of staff affected by the B&Q store closures.

Kingfisher said B&Q stores in the same catchment area of those that close would take on more staff due to increased demand.


Honda investment secures thousands of jobs in Swindon

Honda employs over 3,000 people in Swindon Credit: Tim Ireland/Press Association

Honda is investing over £200 million in a new Civic model - which will be made at the car manufacturer's plant in Swindon.

Over 3,000 people are employed at the factory, which will produce an estimated 120,000 cars a year.

The investment will secure thousands of jobs at the Swindon plant, which saw hundreds of job losses last year.

Hampshire based B&Q to close 60 stores

The retailer is closing 60 stores Credit: PA

Hampshire based DIY store B&Q has announced it is to close about 60 branches over the next two years as part of a restructure.

The retailer, whose head office is in Chandler's Ford, has seen profits fall.

As part of a restructuring of its UK and Ireland business parent company Kingfisher, which also owns Screwfix, plans to axe about 15% of surplus space.

It follows a review of its 360-strong B&Q estate.

The move was announced as it posted a 7.5% drop in annual profits to £675m.

Canterbury signs up to scheme to boost local economy

The last few years have been tough for businesses across the south-east and various schemes have been suggested to boost the economy.

One is the "Business Improvement District", or BID, which sees local shops and companies paying extra taxes to help attract customers.

But Canterbury is the only place in the whole of Kent that's taken up a BID; we sent David Johns to find out why.


Royal Marines band send Britannia on her way with hundreds watching from the shore of Southampton Water

Britannia's maiden voyage is the fastest ever selling cruise for her owners, P&O, with every cabin snapped up within days of going on sale.

The super liner was named by the Queen on Tuesday in Southampton, she was given a traditional send off by the Royal Marines band from Portsmouth and with confetti covering the ship, followed by a big fireworks display. Hundreds of people lined the shore of Southampton Water with many more on small craft following her out into The Solent.

The Royal Marines band playing Britannia out through a blizzard of confetti Credit: Mike Pearse/ITV Meridian
Britannia was named by The Queen in Southampton earlier this week Credit: Mike Pearse/ITV Meridian

Cashless parking - Brighton and Hove to scrap half the city's ticket machines

Drivers in Brighton and Hove are being urged to use their mobile phones to pay for parking. The city council is removing half of all ticket machines to save money. But some motorists fear the change will make parking more difficult for those without mobiles. Malcolm Shaw spoke to Jason Kitcat, the Green leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, and Steve Percy of People's Parking Protest.

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