Long-running Southsea shop Adelphi Books set to close after 'impossible' rent hike

A POPULAR long-running Southsea bookshop will be closing after an ‘impossible’ rent hike.

By Steve Deeks
Saturday, 14th September 2019, 2:33 pm
Robert Smith, the owner of Adelphi Books
Robert Smith, the owner of Adelphi Books

Adelphi Books owner Robert Smith, who has been running the Albert Road shop for nearly 33 years, told The News the situation had become ‘unmanageable’.

The 62-year-old has been subjected to a rent increase from £5,250 to £7,500 a year, with an interim payment of £6,500 for the first year, by property agency Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell.

It has left Robert facing up to the ‘sad’ reality he can no longer afford to pay for his beloved shop despite attempts to negotiate a smaller rent increase.

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While there has been interest to buy the shop, Robert is holding a closing down sale today – with 20 per cent off all books as he prepares to wind down his shop ahead of the lease expiration in January. 

He said: ‘It’s become an impossible solution with the increase in rent. It is very sad. I’ve been here for nearly 33 years and would like to have stayed but it has become an unmanageable situation. 

‘I remember before we moved in we were pootling around Hampshire buying up stock but sadly it has become very stressful with the increase of rent. I wanted to stay here for the remaining four years before I retire but I won’t be able to now.

‘I’ve never been late with payments and have been no trouble despite paying an estimated £250,000, including inflation, in rent since I’ve been here.’

Speaking of his treatment by Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell, Robert said: ‘The landlords want their pound of flesh and decided to put up the rent. Yet they wouldn’t help when there were problems like a water leak.

‘I’ve been here a long time and would have paid more but the increase is too much. I feel I’ve been unfairly treated.’

Adelphi Books, which has more than 6,000 books, is a specialist in crime fiction and books on cinema.

Now his loyal customers will have a chance to grab a bargain in the sale, which Robert says he will keep open for a few weeks. ‘There will be 20 per cent off all books and some food and drink for customers,’ he said.