Café owner ‘broken-hearted’ at closure of Chichester outlet

Florence Park Cafe, Florence Road, Chichester. 2018. Picture contributed. IGefgF3gPxwnZ16M8MAc
Florence Park Cafe, Florence Road, Chichester. 2018. Picture contributed. IGefgF3gPxwnZ16M8MAc

A ‘broken-hearted’ Chichester independent business owner has expressed her sadness after being forced to close down.

Florence Park Café, on Florence Road, will shut it doors for good on Sunday after serving the community since April 2015.

Jo Millen, owner of the café, said a cold start to the season and hot weather had kept customers away.

She said: “We have been extremely unlucky this season with snow earlier in the year and the summer heat. We have always been quite quiet in the heat.”

In a post on the café’s Facebook page, Jo said: “It is with a broken heart that I announce that we will be closing our café forever on Sunday 5th August 2018.

“We have tried really hard to keep our heads above the water. The cold start to the season followed by extreme hot weather has kept customers away. We don’t blame you, lack of parking, no shade, hot metal play equipment, etc.

“We have been running at a loss to provide the community with a café and meeting place.”

She ended the message with thanks to customers for their support.

“I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your custom, support, stories and surprises along our journey. We will sadly not be here to see the wonderful wheelchair accessible swing be installed that we worked tirelessly to fundraise for.

We hope you enjoy it when it finally arrives.”

She also claimed that Chichester District Council had not been supportive and decided not to renew the lease with no reason given.

When asked to comment, a district council spokeman said the lease was valid until the end of October and that café owners had not started discussions about arrangements and they were ‘confused’ by the statement.

“As far as we are concerned, they are due to trade in the park until at least the end of October.

“When we renewed their agreement last year we also amended the terms to take account of concerns they raised about trading in the quiet months, and so we have done everything we can to try and be as accommodating as possible. We have spoken to the owners and have reassured them of these facts.”