Bournemouth Council has come under fire from local seafront operators after stating that tenants must pay rent in accordance with their lease, despite closures imposed on businesses.
With a three-month business hiatus predicted to be the minimum disruption caused by Coronavirus, the council estates department directed tenants to government-backed loans as opposed to seeking council support.
“We are currently getting a number of enquiries from tenants due to the current pandemic,” stated the email sent to tenants. “The council is currently unable to enter into rent free or rent holiday periods.”
Business owner Rob Shearman, who operates three cafes including the kiosk on Boscombe Pier, told the Bournemouth Echo “this email has put a bad taste in my mouth.”
“We’re all hopefully going to open again and get some of the summer, but we will need to talk. That wasn’t a good time for that email to be sent out.”
Speaking via social media, Urban Guild owner Mark Cribb told the BCP: “I appreciate your challenge but even if we wanted to, we cannot pay you.”
In response, council leader Cllr Vikki Slade stated: “We are open to talking to tenants about issues they face. I hope this goes some way to alleviating the concerns and bad feeling our recent communications may have caused.’’