Southsea shop owner complains of '˜aggressive' and '˜unreasonable' treatment over rent hike

A BOOKSHOP owner says his business is still at risk of closing despite a groundswell of support from customers.

Wednesday, 2nd January 2019, 1:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:30 am
Robert Smith, owner of Adelphi Books

Robert Smith, who runs Adelphi Books in Albert Road, Southsea, has revealed he has been treated '˜aggressively' and '˜unreasonably' after being requested to pay a massive hike in his rent.

As previously reported last May, Robert, who has owned the shop for 31 years, said the proposed increase came out of the blue demanding £7,750 a year '“ despite currently paying £5,250.

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The 61-year-old has been rallying support from customers and has a petition signed by over 100 people who want to see Adelphi Books stay open.

Speaking of the hike, Robert said: '˜It's a huge increase for me. The increase is more than I can cope with.

'˜My lease finishes in just over a year. I don't want to breach it but I have been treated so aggressively and unreasonably I don't know what to do.

'˜I'm looking at other places but that would mean breaching my lease and moving, which would be a lot of upheaval.'

Robert told The News he still has hope of striking a deal with the landlords, but said they turned down an offer he made.

He said the only explanation he was given by the landlords for the rise was '˜due to market forces'.

He continued: '˜I've made them a more reasonable offer but they are still offering more than I can handle. But why not give it a chance?

'˜I was hoping to run the shop until I retire. If they had accepted a compromise then I could have wound the business down in an orderly fashion.

'˜It has caused a lot of stress for me and my customers. I've started a petition which shows good support for the shop. A lot of people don't want it to go.'

Robert believes other businesses are being ruined by rent hikes.

'˜It's already been happening quite a lot (shops closing),' he said. '˜Shops are being asked to pay higher rents all the time and are closing because they can't afford them.

'˜At this rate the streets will lose all second hand shops apart from those who own their own premises.'