SPALDING restaurant China 88 will shut for good on Sunday with the loss of seven jobs because its boss says trade is only “ticking over”.
Discount supermarket Kwiksave Spalding Ltd is seeking planning consent to move into the ground floor of the Sheep Market premises.
The supermarket plans were revealed in our sister paper, The Lincolnshire Free Press, last month and at that time Mr Bharwani said the Chinese restaurant would make way for the supermarket by moving to the upper floor.
But now he says it’s time to close.
Mr Bharwani said: “It’s hard out there. It’s very, very tough. Yes I can stay open and just trade by, but I don’t want to do that.
“I am putting in numerous amounts of hours and not getting anything for it.
“We are just ticking over and no more.”
Mr Bharwani said there are a lot of reasons why he feels trade is flat, including edge of town competition from Springfields, pub drinking, empty shops and funfairs.
He said: “I think the town centre started dying the day they started Springfields up and it’s continued that way. People are not coming into town.”
He says funfairs on Victoria Street car park also hit his business, making his regulars stay away, but the council wouldn’t listen to him as one businessman.
“The town used to be really good in the old days and it’s all fizzled away to nothing,” he said. “Little things have made it go down and down.”
He said his staff will look for other work.
“They will look for something else or they may join me somewhere else,” he said. “I think they are going to take a break for a little while.”
China 88 opened in the former Lloyds TSB Bank in May 2009 and an Indian buffet restaurant followed upstairs.
The Indian restaurant was replaced by an American-style eaterie, Bootleggers, but that also folded.
The building has been on the market for some time although Mr Bharwani says he intends to rent it to Kwiksave Spalding Ltd.
l The original Kwik Save chain disappeared from Britain’s high streets five years ago and has now been revived by the budget supermarket group Costcutter and relaunched as Kwiksave. Branches are run as franchises by independent retailers.
South Holland District Council is due to give a decision on the Spalding plan by October 5.
Kwiksave Spalding Ltd has submitted plans to change the use of China 88 and build a single-storey flat roofed extension taking up half of the back yard.
Planning consent has just been granted by South Holland District Council for a four-storey building to go on the neighbouring site now occupied by an air raid shelter and its ground floor will have a commercial use.