"We're just acting under instruction" says managing agent at the centre of More Than Coffee saga
By Lou_101 | Thursday, March 01, 2012, 13:31
"I just wanted to explain that Colliers International is the managing agent on Hart Shopping Centre in Fleet and simply acting under instruction," said Natasha Sunderland, head of communications at Colliers.
More than Coffee in Fleet needs our help
This is Colliers right of reply to claims it is forcing popular More Than Coffee to shut.
Supporters are also due to be meeting at the coffee shop tomorrow - Saturday March 3 - at 10.30am to sign the growing petition and organise a photo opportunity to further fuel their campaign to save More Than Coffee.
If the family run business is forced to close it will leave husband and wife team Sarah and John Anderson and their two young children homeless and bankrupt, she says.
More than Coffee has been in business in Fleet for more than 13 years, first on the high street and for the past three years at the entrance to the shopping centre opposite Starbucks (but not in competition with them).
More than Coffee has offered to increase its rent more than 50 per cent in a bid to stay, but has been Colliers would probably prefer one of the new businesses to move into their unit.
Sarah and John have been offered one of the 12 empty units in the Hart Centre as an alternative, but with set-up costs at some £40,000 they say they cannot afford it so they would be put out of business.
A Facebook and Twitter campaign has been started today by residents in Fleet – so far attracting hundreds of comments and hits.
"If we are forced to move we will be made homeless and we have two young children," said Sarah.
"The managing agent has also asked to send us an email telling them why we think we should stay.
"We cannot believe all this is happening.
"I must stress that the staff actually at The Hart Centre have nothing to do with this or the town council or district councillors. They are being very supportive."
Popular local blogger @MummyBarrow said: "This is disgusting. I am sorry but it is utterly despicable.
"John and Sarah are fierce supporters of all things local and the shop is always full of people enjoying a hot drink or food.
"There is rarely a free table. Regulars are greeted by name and vice versa, customers are always greeted with a smile.
"There are currently 12 empty units in that shopping centre. Twelve. And I think we must be the only town in Britain where Poundland closed down.
"Despite all this More than Coffee is bucking that trend."