Village eatery closure due to ‘Brexit situation’, says former diner owner
PUBLISHED: 14:44 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:11 14 February 2020
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012
The owner of a family restaurant which closed after thirty years has blamed the business’ failure on Brexit.
Sara Armitage and her husband Craig ran Nick's Diner, in Deopham, for eight years after taking over in 2011.
But the business served its last customers in August 2018, before closing its doors after more than thirty years.
And now Mrs Armitage has said the decision to shut up shop was sparked by uncertainty over the UK's prolonged exit from the European Union.
She said: "My husband and I wanted to sell it for two-and-a-half years. We didn't want to close.
"Obviously its the situation and Brexit and all these things."
The couple are set to convert the restaurant's floor space into a three-bed property, so they can remain living in the village which has been their home since 2004.
Mrs Armitage said businesses in the village had been struggling for a number of years.
"It's easier to sell a failing business in a good location, than a good business in a poor location," she added.
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She made the comments following a meeting of South Norfolk Council's planning committee, held on Wednesday, February 13, where councillors agreed to grant the owners permission to change the site's use from restaurant to residential.
The decision had to come to the planning committee as it "would result in a loss of employment".
A report presented to the committee described the site as being in "a relatively remote location" and said it was "not on a busy through route".
There is also a limit to the number of cars which can be parked at the site, due to a covenant on the property.
The diner was first marketed at £425,000, before being dropped to £395,000, £375,000 with a leasehold option, and finally to £360,000.
The officers report said Mr and Mrs Armitage had thoroughly explored the sale of the business and "despite reducing the sale price on four occasions and offering a leasehold option, only five viewings took place and no offers were made".
An estate agent commented that the "issue was the location of site and a lack of passing trade".
Councillors voted unanimously to agree to the conversion.
Mrs Armitage added: "Obviously we're really pleased.
"It's an opportunity to stay there which is what we wanted."