A SUPERMARKET in Lyndhurst which has been run by the same couple for 14 years is set to close early next year.
Budgens is expected to shut its doors in February when its current lease for the premises at 43-47 High Street expires.
When contacted by the A&T the store’s director Lizzie, who runs the business with her husband Geoffrey, declined to give her surname but did confirm it would be closing.
She said increasingly high costs and a lack of trade was behind the decision, adding: “The whole of Lyndhurst is in a terrible state and needs help.
“We need people to get out and spend money, not just shop online. Our high streets are dying.”
It is not known how many staff are expected to lose their jobs at the Lyndhurst Budgens or what the landlord intends to do with the premises once it is vacated.
Lyndhurst Parish Council chair Cllr Chris Willsher told the A&T: “We are very disappointed that Budgens will be closing early next year, as it will leave Lyndhurst residents with only one supermarket.
“We are also concerned to hear that there are no plans for the premises once Budgens goes and are alarmed that the store may be boarded up for several years.
“Not only will this result in very limited choice for our local people, but there will be another eyesore in the heart of the village.”
Cllr Willsher said he would welcome an opportunity to talk to the premises landlord to see whether the parish council could take it on to create something for the benefit of the community, rather than it stand empty.
District councillor Hilary Brand said: “Budgens has been an important shop to the local community for many years and it will be very sadly missed by all.
“It does appear that footfall has been slowing down due to a number of factors which are impacting some of our high street businesses.
“This, along with high rents, high business rates, rises in wages and the addition of pensions to small business, are all contributing to the difficulties of running an independent or small business.”
The village centre store stays open until 8pm on weekdays and, according to its website, offers home delivery, National Lottery tickets and an ATM.