Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 18:42 UK

Local businesses welcome LDV news

By Andrew Dawkins
BBC News, Birmingham

Pauline Brown
Landlady Pauline Brown said workers "deserve a chance"

Staff and suppliers have not been the only people anxiously awaiting developments at Birmingham-based van maker LDV.

Local businesses, including pubs where workers have been regular customers, have noticed a difference since the plant has been at a near standstill.

Landlady of The Barley Mow, Pauline Brown, said: "The complete lifestyle of the lads just changed - their attitude, their ways - it just changed. People changed. The money wasn't there."

LDV said on Wednesday that the sale of the company to Malaysian firm Weststar has been agreed and the deal would secure production in Birmingham.

But a spokesman could not guarantee all jobs would be saved.

'Great lads'

An announcement was made outside gates draped in Union Jacks and posters such as "LDV The Best of British" and "Jobs today are our children's tomorrow".

Drivers sounded horns where camera crews had gathered at the gates.

Three streets away the announcement was welcomed by Mrs Brown and not just because takings are "drastically" down at the publ.

There were posters on the gates

Some workers have been friends for years - and were on the phone to her on Wednesday.

She said: "I've known them since they were in short trousers going to school.

"(They're) married with families of their own and there might be employment for their families, so it's a good thing it's happened.

"You miss the lads because they're great lads and they deserve a chance."

Her husband, Robert, who also works at the pub, added the "general morale has been rock bottom".

He said: "You're not just talking about people that work there. You're looking at all the feeder companies."

Another pub estimated takings have gone down by about £1,000 a week in recent months.

The landlady of The Bromford Inn, Elaine Robertson, 48, said: "A lot of the companies in the area have gone bust.

The Bromford Inn
The Bromford Inn said takings were down by an estimated 1,000 a week

"(There's) been a big decline in the last four years.

"We wouldn't close (if LDV did), but it would be disastrous."

Lunchtime customers were watching events unfold on BBC News on televisions at the pub, which is across the road from one of LDV entrance gates.

The landlady said many workers had been in the day before with pay slips and "depressed faces".

She said: "It's definitely good news.

"Some of the guys have been there since they started work. For them to go into a dole office and have to sign on is quite degrading for them. They wouldn't know where to start."

Just over the road from another LDV entrance, the Lifestyle Express store estimated takings were probably down by about 50% in the daytime recently.

The owner, Haider Ali, 29, said: "We used to open coinciding with the shift start and things like that at the factory. It was half past five to six o'clock.

"It's not really been worth opening that early now. We've started opening at 6.30, 7 o'clock."

Wilf Greenslade, 59, said he worked at the site in his teens when it was a car assembly plant.

He said: "Imagine what they've been going through since November and Christmas.

"I'm happy for the guys and their families."

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