Cafe loses out as bid fails

PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:49 10 June 2010

THE owner of a popular mobile sea front cafe has been forced to shut-up shop after six years because of a 'greedy' district council. Lesley King, 43, of Evett Close, has run her business, at the roundabout near Rodney Point, since 2002. But last Tuesday s

THE owner of a popular mobile sea front cafe has been forced to shut-up shop after six years because of a 'greedy' district council.Lesley King, 43, of Evett Close, has run her business, at the roundabout near Rodney Point, since 2002.But last Tuesday she was given just three weeks to close and make way for a rival trader - who is giving East Devon District Council more money.Mrs King, of L and T Catering said: "Every year the district council just ring us up and ask if we want to carry on. "Then suddenly they started asking for other bids."She has lost her livelihood and, because her husband is retired, she doesn't know what she is going to do: "They took it away from us with less than a month's notice, just because somebody offered them more money. It's being greedy at the expense of a small business. My staff are going to lose their jobs."She said they do more than just serve tea and coffee - last year a dog fell off the cliff at Orcombe Point, and was left freezing in the water for 20 minutes"The vet said if the dog hadn't been wrapped in my jumper it would have died."Mrs King and her staff also give first aid, raise the lifeboat alarm and just two weeks ago helped a man who collapsed following an anaphylactic shock."Disabled people just have to beep their horn and I serve them immediately - I doubt if anybody else would do that."Regular Robert Speers said: "It's disgraceful the way she has been treated. They are nice people."Another customer, Stephen Fitzgerald, said: "The way this has been done is really underhanded."A council spokesman said: "The current holder of this concession won the right to trade at this location by submitting a competitive tender, which was higher than others at the time."The council is obliged to go out to competitive tender at intervals in order to give other traders a chance to trade from this popular location."On this latest occasion, the current concession holder was unsuccessful - but only after being given the opportunity to submit a tender that she believed would be the most competitive."This kind of competitive tendering process goes on hundreds of times a day all over the world and unfortunately there are always winners and losers, as is the case, throughout the business community. "While the Council understands any disappointment felt by the concession holder, in the interests of fairness to all concerned there is no other method of awarding this concession.

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