CHANTS of support for a barbers echoed around the streets of Paulsgrove as protesters showed just how much they want the business to stay part of the community.
A group of around 30 customers stood outside the Portsmouth City Council offices on Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove yesterday while the owner of Ally Barbers, Jodie Priestley, attended a meeting with officers to decide the shop’s fate.
Mrs Priestley, 39, has owned the barbers for seven years and recently found herself in hot water with the council through late rent payment.
The council called her in and said they would not be renewing her lease.
Lea Walker, from Leominster Road, organised the protest to show the council the strength of feeling.
She was at the protest with sons Mitchell, 18, and Owen, 12, who both regularly use Ally Barbers.
Mrs Walker, 40, said: ‘My boys won’t get their hair cut by anyone else.
‘It is the community getting together to show support for her and to show the council that they need to listen to the community.’
Carole Underwood, 60, Josie Chandler, 61, and Eileen Tasker, 58, whose husbands use the barbers, had made placards in support.
Mrs Tasker said: ‘It is a shame that a Paulsgrove born and bred lady might lose her Paulsgrove business.’
Mrs Underwood said: ‘I’ve seen the amount of work that has been put into the shop. When she first got started there wasn’t even a floor and there was no electrics, it was basically a shell. Also it’s not just her, it’s her staff too.’
The protestors stood outside the offices while the meeting took place and there were cheers as Mrs Priestley came out and broke the news that the council had allowed her to stay.
Mrs Priestley, of Leominster Road, said: ‘It was a bit emotional to see that there were so many people there to support me.
‘The council could have put in another barbers but these customers know us and like the way we cut their hair so are loyal to us.’
The council agreed to renew the lease for six months from September.
Customers and friends hugged a tearful Mrs Priestley.
Ward councillor David Horne said: ‘It was because they put up a fight and people showed their support, that was what tipped the balance.’