The owner of one of Corby Old Village’s most popular independent shops has announced she will be leaving the High Street.
Gaye Henry, who runs Much Loved in High Street, had been told by landlord Corby Council to accept and sign a new lease or get out.
But now she has been given notice that she needs to leave the Grade II listed property by the end of September.
An Aladdin’s cave filled with an eclectic range of furniture, giftware and Italian fashion, the chic shop also hosts art and upholstery workshops.
Gaye has run her popular business for five and a half years but was informed by the council that it would be ‘actively marketing’ the premises.
She initially signed to rent the shop for four years, after which she leased the large ground floor on a rolling basis.
An email from the council to Gaye said: “It is our intention is to actively market the property as a whole with a view to securing new terms ASAP.
“You are welcome to put forward a formal offer and this will be considered together with any other offers received.
“You will not be afforded a right of first refusal and all offers received will be considered on their own merit.”
In a follow-up email Gaye was told: “You don’t seem to have fully accepted responsibility for the serious breaches of your lease obligations and you certainly have not made any commitments to resolve this issue.
“Either you are not prepared to remedy these arrears or you are financially unable to do so - in either instance your occupation of the premises is no longer sustainable.”
Gaye says the arrears are ancillary and utility payments, not rental debt as logged.
Customer Helen Gibson has been seeking support for the shop to stay put with an online petition which has over 560 signatories.
But a newly negotiated temporary lease has now given Gaye until Monday, September 30, to shut up shop.
A distraught Gaye said: “I do not want to move. Much Loved has been here for five and a half years.
“We took on the building which was in a very neglected state and put a lot of time, effort and money into getting it fit for use.
“The lease has gone out publicly to general bids, with no preference being shown to the current tenant, at a whopping 47 per cent increase, and they have introduced a full repairing clause which means that a new tenant will have to be responsible for all aspects of maintenance and repair of the interior and exterior of this listed building which has so many already known issues.
“Being responsible for everything in this building is a recipe for bankruptcy.”
She added: “We don’t want to move but our days here are numbered. We want to be here but not with this type of lease on a listed building.”
Gaye is hoping to find suitable premises for her boutique and to keep her sales team together.