Popular tea rooms closes as its lease is not renewed

A POPULAR tea rooms in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard has closed after its lease wasn't renewed.

Sunday, 30th October 2016, 7:43 pm
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:55 am
Roseann McKechnie, owner of the Georgian Tea Rooms in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, serves sandwiches and cake to Roger and Barbara Glanceford, who volunteer as guides at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, at the relaunch of the Georgian tea rooms in May last year Picture: Steve Reid/Blitz Photography

The Georgian Tea Rooms had been based in Storehouse 9 for the past decade, but must now be off site by Friday after closing its doors to the public on Saturday.

It was only relaunched in April last year.

The owner, Andrew Bennett, who also owns the neighbouring Antiques Storehouse, was informed of the landlord Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust’s intention not to renew the lease in May. The antiques store will remain open.

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Roseann McKechnie, the tea rooms’ business development manager, said: ‘We’ve had some lovely feedback from the public and people who say that they come here just for us, and when we’re gone they won’t be coming in to the dockyards any more.

‘I’m very disappointed for those customers. Some people think we are going because we’re bankrupt, which isn’t the case at all.

‘We’re consistently busy and we have our own niche here, we’re not really competition for the restaurants.

‘It’s such a shame we’re being closed down.’

Three full-time staff and several part-time staff are being made redundant as the result of the closure.

The restaurants in Boathouse 7 and the recently revamped Boathouse 4 are operated by catering company Ampersand.

Peter Goodship, chief executive of the PNBPT, said: ‘This closure is part of a long-term plan for catering at the dockyard.

‘As soon as Boathouse 4’s new facilities were built, the Georgian Tea Rooms would close. We had too much catering at the southern end of the site. The lease expires in November and we decided not to renew. It was always planned and the proprietor understands that.

‘This is not the result of an exclusivity deal with the caterers, and there is no intention for Ampersand to take it over.

‘We are looking for other uses for that premises at the moment.

‘The new restaurant is a better facility and is in an altogether preferable location.’

Mr Bennett declined to comment.