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Customers upset as Cafe Allez at Belvoir Castle announces closure

The closure of a popular cafe near Grantham has been announced leaving hundreds of customers angry and upset.

Located in the main car park at Belvoir Castle, Cafe Allez first opened its van doors almost three years ago, but this week owners Mark Trevarthen and partner Claire Fretwell announced that they would have to close by the end of March.

The announcement was made on Facebook and the post has already been shared more than 120 times, with more than 400 comments from devastated customers.

Mark Trevarthen and partner Claire Fretwell of Cafe Allez! (14294296)
Mark Trevarthen and partner Claire Fretwell of Cafe Allez! (14294296)

Mark said: "We would absolutely love to be able to continue our journey at Belvoir, but there is now no opportunity for us to renew our lease.

"Our team were informed last week and, like the true professionals they are, have vowed to fight on to the last day, delivering the customer service and quality that you deserve from Cafe Allez.

"We have eight weeks left to serve you in, we intend to make the most of every single day."

He added: "As for Claire and I, there is no Plan B, but we have each other, we have a van with some dates in the diary and we have some great memories: memories of meeting so many of you, and of working with colleagues who make going to work an actual pleasure."

Since the announcement a lot of customers have been sharing their frustration and devastation over the closure on the Facebook post.

Jane Bingham commented: "Cafe Allez is the reason lots of people I know go to the Engine Yard to shop.

"It won’t be the same without you, it’s a rotten trick not renewing your lease; onwards and upwards, nothing will stop you two, it’s always the people who make any business a success, we’ll follow wherever you launch next."

Andrew Selby commented: "Mark and Claire, I've known you both for a relatively short time while planning and eventually getting Parkrun live. As we discussed on Saturday, I'm gutted for you both, such a great couple, great business and very good coffee.

"I know we will continue to run Parkrun and can't wait to follow you to what you both do next."

Sarah Webster said: "Adding my voice to the plethora of those who are incredibly sad and sorry to see you go. Will be taking full advantage of the next few weeks of wonderful coffee, cake and chats with all of you. Really really hoping there's the good news on the horizon that you all deserve."

Sharon Gustard said: "We have loved taking a break from our home office working for an excellent cuppa, lovely food but like so many we have made the trip because we were guaranteed a wonderful welcome. You have put so much into this business and feel devastated you have been forced into this situation. We may miss the view but will be happy to support you in your new venture."

Mike Watson commented: "I’m going to add my voice to the chorus of frank disappointment at Belvoir Castle Estate’s decision to not renew your lease. You and your team have established a thriving destination, a key meeting point for cyclists, walkers, runners, a reason to go to the Engine Yard. You kept going in the most difficult of circumstances, doing so in a way that made us feel safe; for that alone you should be congratulated and be proud."

Sophie Clarke commented: "Best coffee for miles around, will miss your flat whites but I really hope you can continue somewhere else in the area, onwards.

"Another poor decision by Belvoir Castle but I imagine they realised that you are far superior to their coffee offerings."

In a statement given to the Journal, Belvoir Castle said: "We’re very sorry that Cafe Allez’s time here with us at the Castle has to come to an end. They have built a fantastic business and have wonderful loyal customers who we know will be disappointed by this news.

"At the outset, the unit from which Cafe Allez operated was offered on a three year lease which comes to an end this March. This is to enable work to get underway on a long-standing plan to improve visitor facilities and access to the Castle and Gardens. This includes completely renovating the buildings currently housing the cafe and existing ticket office.

"We are still working through the finer details with planners but as soon as we get the go ahead, we will share the plans with everyone.

"We wish Claire and Mark and the whole Cafe Allez team all the best for the future and hope everyone takes the opportunity to visit them before the end of March. We will all miss their delicious cake too!"

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