On 23rd July 2021, Fruity Tooty were given 10 days notice to vacate Unit 5 in Aylesbury Retail Park by Bucks COuncil. This is due to a new high profile retailer (supermarket) moving in to units 1-3, who apparently don’t want the competition and will receive a £1.8 million loan from the council. Fruity Tooty has been trading as a local family run business for over 30 years and the council offered them Unit 5 on a short lease in May 2020, due to their business growing, requiring more space for shoppers during Covid-19, and to pack fruit and veg boxes for deliveries. The council kept renewing the lease every 3 months and requested that they invested in equipment which meant the council benefited from a central government grant. On August 4th, the council tried to change the locks, but the owner of Fruity Tooty managed to stop – although they did steal a flat screen TV. Since then, the council has ignored all of their emails and won’t communicate with them despite the owners trying to resolve this. Now they are starting legal proceedings against Fruity Tooty who could lose their business if they don’t find new premises, and have to pay legal fees.
The council should either allow them to remain in Unit 5 or find them premises which are just as good. Ignoring a retailer is just cowardly, especially when Fruity Tooty have helped raise money for charity and regularly champion other small businesses by allowing them to have pop up stores there every Saturday. Taking them to court is not the answer. The high street will be poorer without them as they provide high quality fresh produce of staple vegetables to more unusual foods which can be difficult to find elsewhere. Over 2800 people have signed a petition, and a fundraising page for legal fees has at the time of writing raised £305.00.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Felicity is a classically trained singer and pianist who is currently teaching locally. She enjoys reading, walking and started writing in the first lockdown. She feels passionately about protecting the environment, promoting small businesses and promoting the Arts in the community.
Felicity Davies Local CLP member