A POPULAR antique centre in Stroud is set to close down after an apparent communication breakdown between the landlord and business owner.

The Malt House Emporium will be shutting at Salmon Springs Trading Estate in Stroud on October 31, having been based there since 2014.

Malt House owner Helen Tweddle believes she and her business are being forced out, but the lease owner said she wanted to leave.

Ms Tweddle said in a Facebook post: “It is with great sadness that I announce that the Malt House Emporium in Stroud is set to close on October 31, 2017.

“We do not wish to leave and the 100 small businesses who trade with us, and eight staff who will be made unemployed, are devastated that their business, and livelihood, could be destroyed.

“Our landlord, and the owner of the restaurant, has given us notice so he can develop the site as a Growth Hub extension ‘to assist and incubate small businesses’.

“We are all still in shock that the business we worked so hard to build has been forced to close, and that our lovely loyal customers will not have our facility in Stroud any longer.”

But the landlord, Dr Daniel Sturdy, said that he only sought a new tenant because he believed that Malt House was planning to move to Tewkesbury.

“It wasn’t until we heard they were in the process of securing new premises in Tewkesbury, that we took the difficult decision at the end of May to exercise the break clause,” he said.

“It seemed a reasonable assumption that they would be offering enlarged spaces to some of the Malt House dealers once she had secured her new premises.”

However, Helen said the Tewksbury venture was to expand the business, and the plan was never to close the Stroud site. “Stroud is our home, Stroud is where we wish to remain,” she said.

She has set up an online petition to try and save the emporium which has received more than 1,800 signatures.

Gfirst Local Enterprise Partnership would run the Growth Hub planned for Salmon Springs.

However a spokesman said: “The nature of other tenants on the site, including the antiques centre, adds to the attraction of Severn Springs as a venue for a Growth Hub.

"The LEP would not support a Growth Hub proposal that displaced existing activity.”

Dr Sturdy told the SNJ he plans to open a new shop in the space currently occupied by Malt House.“We are pleased to announce that from the November 1 we will be launching a new enterprise.

“It will offer space to around 75 small businesses, both dealers and artisans, in a supportive and collaborative environment.”

He said he’d welcome dealers currently based at Malt House at his new venture.

Dr Sturdy added that the new store will open with four independently run shops.

“There has never been a question of us running all the businesses or taking over anyone else’s,” he told the SNJ.

“We explained to Helen that we were completely open to further discussions over the next few months but that we were also in discussions with other interested parties.

"All these discussions were ongoing until July 31 when Helen asked us to consider a six-month extension.”

He said that Helen’s Facebook announcement of the closure of Malt House therefore came as a surprise.

“We are totally at a loss to understand why she unilaterally broke off negotiations.”