The owners of Walpole Park's only cafe are in shock after being told they have lost the lease.
Alan Dillon and his partner Sarah have been providing a service in the park for nearly ten years, first as Spencer's which has been described as an ' Ealing institution' and now in The Rickyard.
Ealing Council was previously the landlord but Pitzhanger Manor Gallery Trust (PMGT) have signed a 25 year lease with the council to run the park. The house and gallery are currently closed and undergoing a major renovation and conservation project, and will reopen again in late 2018.
PMGT asked for tenders for the commercial outlets and Mr Dillon has just been informed that his bid was unsuccessful.
He says: '' We are beyond devastated. I have built this business from nothing & with sheer hard work & am now expected to just hand this over to a new tenant, losing not just my livelihood,but those that work at the cafe.''
Locals and customers have also been shocked by the news and a petition to save the cafe has been set up and already has over 700 signatures.
Mr Dillon writes: '' For those of you who know the cafe and us,we open every day of the year including Christmas Day. We are expected to walk away from our business in the next few weeks we will effectively be out of work. Our lovely staff will also be out of work.''
Park users are appalled and comments on the petition include:
'' This smacks of some very underhanded treatment towards those who run the café.''
'' This action without consultation is incredibly harsh, let alone a foolish business decision. Don't let this cafe and its staff be shunted out with only weeks' notice right before the holidays! I will personally refuse to patronize any new food outlet inserted in its place if this goes ahead.
'' This is a brilliantly run cafe so why on Earth have Ealing council not extended its lease & worse still given the opportunity to someone else?? This is outrageous!!
We have asked Ealing Council and PMGT for an explanation.