This post was first published by My London on 22/08/2019.
Croydon ice cream shop ‘ruined’ by Village Outlet closure moves to ‘barrow’ by Centrale
Owner Patrick Kirwan is pleased to be trading again but hopes to get a larger, permanent shop soon.
The much-loved ice cream shop devastated by the sudden closure of Croydon Village Outlet has now re-opened outside Centrale.
Bellamy’s ice cream, based in the former Allders site for seven years, was one of 21 businesses suddenly forced to stop trading on July 16 when Croydon Council changed the locks overnight.
Owner Patrick Kirwan, who said he poured every day of the year except Christmas into his family-owned business, arrived to find his van “towed away” and his premises “left destroyed”, with thousands of pounds of equipment still inside.
While six businesses have moved into the Whitgift Centre, Bellamy’s has opted for a cart by Centrale, in front of the Metro Bank, although Patrick says he hopes to be offered a larger, permanent space soon.
However, having been closed during what should have been his busiest trading period of the year, he still fears the damage to his family’s finances could be irreparable.
Patrick said: “At the minute, it’s riches to rags, they really have destroyed my life. I would have thought I lost easily £10,000 a week over the school holidays.
“We also had the hottest week of the year so that’s a lot of ice cream and a lot of money.”
As an ice cream shop, Patrick makes losses during winter and his “main yearly family income” during the summer.
With four children, as well as mortgages and bills to pay, he fears he and his wife, both born and raised in Croydon, will not be able to recover from the impact of the sudden closure.
While he is pleased not to have moved into the Whitfgift Centre, where he says footfall is considerably lower, he worries that business is still “very slow” in his new location.
“It’s nothing like the shop,” he said, “I only have a little cart, four foot by four foot. Hopefully they offer me a proper spot there.
“Still, I’ve had a lot of interest from the community in Croydon, people have been coming up to us and saying it should never have been done like this.”
Why was Croydon Village Outlet closed?
The council compulsory purchased the site to make way for the £1.4 billion Westfield and Hammerson development and after failing to reach an agreement with the previous landlord.
Croydon Partnership, managing the building on behalf of the council, are having surveys done on a “range of health and safety issues” identified, with no time frame for when these may be resolved.
In addition to Bellamy’s, so far six businesses have been relocated, moving into the Whitgift Centre, which Patrick refused.
Eleven businesses have agreed relocation, with the process still ongoing, and discussions are continuing with six other concessions.
A spokesman for Croydon Council said: “While the Croydon Partnership leads on the relocation of traders, Croydon Council’s economic development team has been offering advice and assistance.
“A number of different locations for Bellamy’s Ice Cream were suggested but only the current site was deemed acceptable by the business owner.”
A spokesperson for the Croydon Partnership said: “Our first priority is to ensure the future safety of the traders and shoppers.
“Commissioning these additional surveys are a necessary part of this process.
“We are working closely with all traders to discuss opportunities to relocate to the Whitgift Centre to ensure they continue trading in Croydon and we appreciate their cooperation and patience while these important surveys take place.”