A much loved tearoom nestled in the village of Castle Ashby will close for good this week after the business learnt their lease will not be renewed.
The Buttery Restaurant is situated in the Castle Ashby Rural Shopping Yard and has remained there for at least 20 years. The owners of the tearoom made an announcement yesterday (November 16) that delivered a devastating blow to their regulars.
The restaurant's Facebook post reads: "To all our lovely valued customers.
"It is with great sadness to learn that our lease will not be renewed on the The Buttery Restaurant and Tea Room after 20 odd years of it being here.
"So sadly, this Friday November 19, 2021 we will be shutting our doors for the last time.
"We the staff are absolutely gutted to hear this and will miss you all more than you know.
"Of course, if you have any vouchers to redeem please get in touch and we will reimburse you.
"A sad week for all."
General manager at The Buttery Restaurant, Polly Chadwick, told this newspaper that staff received the notification that their three year lease would not be renewed early next year on Monday (November 15).
The traditional English tearoom then took the decision to close its doors early because their winter months are usually slow so they would have ended up having to pay out.
Polly, who has worked at The Buttery Restaurant for six and a half years, said: "We are just devastated. It's tragic for the yard and a travesty really - you only have to look at our Facebook page - people are gutted and angry and there's a lot of emotion. People have been contacting the estate to let them know how angry they are.
"I am just dismayed and hurt that we have had to make people redundant. It is not a nice place to be in at the moment because it has just been such a shock."
With the Facebook announcement came an outpouring of sympathy, shock and bewilderment from the tearoom's regular customers.
One commenter, reacting to the news, said: "What? But it’s the staple of the shopping yard? My children and I have loved it for the 15 years I’ve lived here. Very sad news indeed."
Another commenter said: "Oh no. We are gutted, one of only a few places that my husband felt safe. Wishing you all the best for the future, you will be sadly missed."
The Castle Ashby Rural Shopping Yard is part of the Compton Estate managed by the seventh Marquess of Northampton, Spencer Compton whose family have owned Castle Ashby since the 1500s.
Polly was in the process of buying the restaurant from the current owner, who had fallen ill. She has not lost all hope yet, however. She added: "I am hoping to try and find another location. Whether that will be or not is another thing because we have got to do that quickly."
This newspaper approached The Compton Estate to ask why the lease for The Buttery Restaurant was not renewed and to ask what will become of the building once it is vacant.
A spokesperson for the estate said: "We are unable to comment further as this is a private matter."