Two more Sidmouth shops to close for good

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:27 16 October 2018

Steve and Lyn Clarke from The Rendezvous on Fore Street. Ref shs 4753-43-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Steve and Lyn Clarke from The Rendezvous on Fore Street. Ref shs 4753-43-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

Two more independent shops will close their doors, disappearing from the town's high street for good.

Colin and Kylie Cramb outside Coles on Sidmouth High Street.Colin and Kylie Cramb outside Coles on Sidmouth High Street.

Coles gift shop, in the High Street, will close on Saturday, October 27, and The Rendezvous, in Fore Street, won’t be far behind.

The two businesses have joined a fast-growing list of shops which have left or have plans to because of rising costs and ‘unfair’ business rates. Since February Carinas, Hospiscare, NatWest and Sweet Temptations have closed.

New Look will cease trading on Saturday, October 20, Barclays on Friday, November 16, and Pure Indulgence will close April 2019 along with Govier’s of 
Sidmouth - which has gone online only.

Speaking to the Herald, Colin and Kylie Cramb, of Coles, told how they were returning home to Australia to be with their family when their lease ends.

The pair said they don’t know who will be moving into the shop but they were selling all their stock at 50 per cent and plans had been made for merchandise to go to Devon Embroidery, Woolbrook News - which plans to take on the helium balloon service, and Ebenezers Christmas Shop, which hopes to soon sell the Sidmouth-themed Christmas cards.

The couple said: “It’s bitter sweet. We have loved running the shop. We are going to miss Sidmouth and want to thank all our loyal customers.

“Landlords don’t seem to realise that it’s 2018 and the rents they’re charging is more than businesses can sustain. Our bottom line has risen.”

The second issue, he said, was ‘unfair’ business rates and explained a situation where a card shop that pays can plausibly be next door to a card shop that does not pay rates - despite the fact they sell the same products and generate similar incomes. This means one shop has paid £10,000 before opening the door.

Colin said: “It is totally ridiculous that rates are based on the value of the property. If the value goes up, your rates and rent goes up. There is no way to go but up. It is an incestuous cycle.”

Steve and Lyn Clarke, of The Rendezvous, revealed they would be closed before Christmas. after the opportunity arose for them to take on an East Devon pub, where the rates are the same, even though the restaurant is five times the size of The Rendezvous, albeit the rent it more.

Steve said no body seemed to want to the listen to the businesses that were crying out for help.

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