By Harry Mottram: One of Widcombe’s most popular shops is set to close next month after the lease for the Widcombe Deli ends on the 1st December. The landlords have decided not to renew the lease on the Widcombe Parade business after eight years.
The owners Jon and Nicky Ison said they are devastated by the decision and said they will be forced to shut up shop. Nicky Ison said: “The landlords have given us notice ‘because they can’….there is no good reason…We have never missed a rental payment in 8 years and have even paid all the way through Covid without asking for rental reductions or ‘holidays’.
“Our lease is onerous in that it was unprotected (which means that we signed the lease 8 years ago which signs away our rights under the LTA 1954) not thinking for one moment that the landlords would be so callous and harsh at the end of the term.”
The landlords, Doctor and Mrs Goodwin, have so far been unmoved by letters of support from customers and pleas from local councillors.
One loyal customer wrote to the landlords saying: “I use the deli often, as do many locals and various local organisations to have catering for meetings and parties. Locals will be very upset at your decision, as losing something carefully built up over many years’ hard work, will be a tragedy.”
Another wrote to the landlords: “I have learnt recently, that the Deli will be closing in a month or so, as you have decided not to renew the lease. As you work in Bath, and presumably live in the city too, you may be aware of how significant a feature of life the Deli has become in the Widcombe community. Since Nicky opened in that location seven years ago, the Deli has been the centre for community and social life in Widcombe ever since.”
Support too came from the chairman of the Widcombe Association that has also shown the level of concern: “In the 8 years since the Deli opened it has become a focus of communal life in Widcombe. Its value lies in the quality of the atmosphere the Isons have created and the service they provide. It is clearly a successful and sound business, and one that would be lost if they are forced to close. In addition, the Isons have gone out of their way to contribute to the community in many other ways. The decision to end their lease without the opportunity to renew seems to us to be unfortunate.”
And the Widcombe Deli has had support from the ward councillor Alison Born. She wrote in her letter to the landlords: “The Deli is a popular meeting point throughout the year, it is a good local employer and has done much to enhance Widcombe Parade. Jon and Nicky have provided a warm welcome, they have worked with The Widcombe Association and with other local traders to enhance the local area, providing floral decorations in the summer and Christmas decorations in the winter months. They have also offered free food and drinks to families facing financial hardship and have supported Ukranian refugees, including providing employment to some.”
Nationally independent stores continue to struggle with not only uncertainty over leases as in the case of the Widcombe Deli but also the cost-of-living crisis. Add to that the perennial issue of business rates, staff shortages, the increase in fuel and energy costs which hit the bottom line and interest rates hiked, plus of course inflation that remains well above the 2% Bank of England guideline.
Widcombe Parade remains one of the city’s bastion of independent shops – along with Chelsea Road, Moorland Road, Bear Flat, Larkhall and the various havens of indies in the city centre.
For more details on the business visit https://jjbeanos.com/
Bath Voice have approached the landlords for a comment.
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