Family-run garage in Fratton move from historic site after selling to developers

From left -  Alan Godden, Lyn Godden, Abigail Mitchell and Gary Godden'''Picture by Malcolm Wells (180320)
From left - Alan Godden, Lyn Godden, Abigail Mitchell and Gary Godden'''Picture by Malcolm Wells (180320)

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A FAMILY-RUN garage has uprooted its business for the first time in 26 years.

Fratton Bridge Garage started on Goldsmith Avenue almost three decades ago.

Its founders, husband and wife team Alan and Lynda Godden, leased the building on a site that was also home to seven other businesses.

After many years of leasing the land, owner Steve Smith decided to sell it to developers who are currently turning the site into flats.

The businesses have now relocated, including the garage, which is now situated in Dudas Spur business park.

Lynda said: ‘We didn’t have a choice really. We were a bit dissapointed but it’s given us a whole new perspective.

‘We’ve put a lot of money into this new, more modern space which we’ve fully renovated so that it is fit for purpose. It looks wonderful.

‘It’s a lot bigger than our previous garage!’

The company has built up a long list of loyal customers. Now that its headquarters has moved, the directors – Alan, Lynda, their son Gary and his fiancee Abigial Mitchell – are keen to let people know that the team is still going strong.

She added: ‘We’re excited to welcome lots of new customers and we’re still here for the regulars.

‘Steve even drops in his cars to be serviced by us. We’ve always had a great relationship with him. ’

When asked about his decision to sell, Mr Smith, 65, revealed the remarkable history behind the land’s ownership.

He said: ‘My great grandfather owned the site in 1896. He was in the coal trade and delivered by bicycle.

‘The industry trade declined so, in 1983, we decided to rent it out to firms.

‘The Goddens are great people. We never had any problems with them.

I’ve entered retirement now and decided to sell for personal reasons, but I wish them all the best and I know I’ll see them again soon.’