Family takeaway forced to shut by Tesco expansion
A family-run Chinese takeaway is being forced to close after 28 years to make way for a Tesco store expansion.
The Golden Bowl, in Weston High Street, is one of two independent businesses shutting their doors as a result of the proposed new supermarket and residential scheme.
Plans have been submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council by developer Bath Weston One to more than double the size of the existing Tesco Express store, build six new two-bedroom flats and reduce the number of car parking spaces.
Jenny and Alan Liu, who are 58 and 62 and have raised their three children in Weston, have been handed an eviction notice telling them they have to leave in November.
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They say they cannot afford to move to new premises and, so close to retirement, do not know what they are going to do to make ends meet.
Mr Liu said: "We knew this year that our lease was going to expire, so we asked him (the landlord) about the rent and if they were going to increase it. But the landlord didn't say anything about all this."
Mrs Liu added: "I asked him not to put the rent up because it is a difficult time for us, with the recession, and he told me not to worry.
"If they had told us a little bit earlier, then we could have had a different plan."
Mr Liu said: "If only they would let us stay for another two or three years, then I would retire."
The couple, who live in Purlewent Drive, have looked into moving elsewhere in Weston, but have been quoted around £50,000 for the installation of new equipment and the licences needed to run a takeaway – money they do not have.
They are also angry because earlier this year they spent £3,000 on a new gas system, having no idea that they would be thrown out within 12 months.
Mrs Liu said it had come at a difficult time because their youngest child, 18-year-old Samantha, had just started university and they needed to help with her tuition fees and cost of accommodation.
They are now worried they will be forced to claim benefits to tide them over until retirement, something they had always been determined not to do.
Mrs Liu said they had been overwhelmed by the support from customers and local people who were sad to see them go.
"They have always supported us and they want us to stay. We have also had help from both of our local councillors who have been helping us," she said.
A Facebook campaign called Stop Tesco from closing down The Golden Bowl in Weston, Bath has been set up and has already attracted support from more than 360 people.