Restaurant closure sparks concerns

Appia Italian restaurant, Storrington. Pic Steve Robards
Appia Italian restaurant, Storrington. Pic Steve Robards

Residents of Storrington are expressing concerns for the future of retailing in the village.

A resident who contacted the County Times raised ‘ghost town’ fears and said: ‘‘It would be a shame to see Storrington go the same route as Pulborough.’’

It has now been announced that family-owned Italian restaurant Appia which has been in Old Mill Drive, Storrington for more than 25 years, is due to close.

Supermarket giant Waitrose purchased the land on Mill Square, Storrington, including the lease owned by Appia several years ago.

Another Storrington resident said: “When the John Lewis group bought up Mill Square they opened a Waitrose small supermarket.

“We the community were invited to an exhibition of the wonderful improvements they were going to do for Storrington including new shops and a car park.

‘‘Later they decided to do nothing to improve the buildings.

“We have a lovely family run Italian Restaurant which was promised improvements.’’

According to Waitrose, Appia had been operating on a short-term lease on the understanding that they would eventually require the unit back at a mutually agreed point in the future.

A spokesman for Waitrose said: “We have a good relationship with Appia and the lease was always on the understanding that we would eventually require the unit back at a mutually agreed point in the future.

‘‘We have now reached a mutual agreement with the owner.”

The family-run Appia restaurant is due to close at the end of the month.

A spokesman for the Storrington and Sullington Parish Council said: “The landowners (of Mill Square) have given notice to the leaseholders of Appia.

“However we are not aware of the recent closure of any pubs and at present the number of empty premises is at its lowest for some time.

“The Parish Council is very keen to support local businesses and regularly organises community events, continental markets etc. to boost local economy and encourage visitors to the area.”

The owners of Appia restaurant were unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, the Golden Willow Chinese Restaurant located in the village said on Facebook: ‘‘Just to clear up rumours, we are NOT selling. However your continued support is much appreciated and important to keep us going.’’

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