A tearoom in the oldest part of a town centre is to close following eight years of “rocky” trade.
Church View Tea Rooms, which is tucked away in Middle Row, Ashford, will shut its doors for the final time in January as the building’s owner is putting the site on the market.
Trevor Cook, who has run the business since 2015, says he feels now is the right time to move on.
“We were set to close in October but we have been given a reprieve until the end of January,” he said.
“I'm sad to be going in some ways, but I think it is time to wrap things up for now.
“It has been a rocky eight years because I had to build the business up after taking it over from previous owners.
“Then Covid came along, and apart for six weeks, we were shut for over a year which didn't help.
“Now we have the cost-of-living crisis and people who used to work in offices in the town are still working from home so we don't get as many takeaway customers as we used to.”
Before becoming Church View Tea Rooms, the cafe, which sits next to Rosewell’s Tattoo Studio, was known as The Chilli Bite.
Since then, the town centre has seen a number of changes, something Mr Cook says has made it difficult for small businesses.
“When I came here, there were only a handful of cafes in town, but there are loads now,” he explained.
“It's nice to have competition but there is only a certain amount of trade, especially now the town is losing trade.
“People have less of a need to come into town; we are fighting a losing battle.”
The tearoom is set to close on January 27, but until then Mr Cook says he is open for business as usual.
“We will be doing a Christmas afternoon tea and also have Black Friday offers,” he explained.
“We are open Tuesday to Saturday and we want people to know we are still here for them and can still take orders.”
It is not clear what will happen to the site once sold, but in January last year, plans were put forward to change the Grade II-listed building, which dates back to the 15th century, into residential and office space.
The plans are yet to be approved.