Hundreds sign petition in bid to save Portsmouth barber shop from closure

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MORE than 600 people have signed a petition to try to save a barber shop from closure in Paulsgrove.

The owner of Ally Barbers in Allaway Avenue has been told the shop’s lease will not be renewed by Portsmouth City Council in September – leaving four jobs at risk.

Jodie Priestley owner of Ally Barbers with her petition''''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141412-606) PPP-141205-155315003

Jodie Priestley owner of Ally Barbers with her petition''''Picture: Allan Hutchings (141412-606) PPP-141205-155315003

So far, around 400 people have signed a petition inside the shop asking the council to reconsider its decision.

An online petition has gathered an extra 230 signatures.

Jodie Priestley, owner of Ally Barbers, says she was contacted by the authority last week and told her lease would not be renewed because she had paid her rent late.

‘When my lease is up in September, I don’t know what I will do,’ she said.

‘I have got three staff, one is part-way through an apprenticeship and would have to find another placement.

‘I have got one girl who has been here for seven years and who has helped me build up my business.

‘Two of the girls are single mums. There are four of us who could be out of work if I have to close.’

Jodie, 39, says her ‘hundreds’ of customers will also be forced to find somewhere new to have their hair cut.

‘We are a community hairdresser,’ she said.

‘Most of the people who come here grew up in Paulsgrove. Some of the children had their first haircut here and now they are old enough to go to school.

‘People are not happy about this.’

Mum-of-three Lisa Kail, 37, said it would be ‘a real shame’ if Jodie’s shop closed.

‘It would have a huge impact on the community,’ she said.

‘We have got three boys. The youngest has Asperger’s syndrome and has some issues and he has been going to Jodie for three years.

‘With his issues, it has taken a long time to get him confident with having his hair cut and Jodie has really helped. It is the only place he will have his hair cut.

‘He also has Tourette’s. If it shuts we will have to find somewhere that is not judgemental and is relaxed.’

Michelle Gay has also been a customer since it opened.

The 38-year-old described it as ‘heartbreaking’.

‘It’s such a shame,’ she said.

After being approached by The News, the city council said it would like to reiterate the reason for the lease not being renewed was because rent was late on multiple occasions and ‘subletting’ to a nail salon without permission from the authority.