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Idle Mole garden centre in Belvoir Castle's Engine Yard announces closure after being put in 'impossible situation'

A garden centre within Belvoir Castle’s retail village has announced it will be closing after being put in an “impossible situation”.

The Idle Mole, located within the Engine Yard, has announced it will be closing as a result of poor footfall, one of several concerns highlighted recently at a meeting of the retail park's tenants.

The retailer confirmed the closure on Facebook and said it was with “enormous sadness and regret” that it was closing and staff “would like to sincerely thank everyone for their loyal support and custom over the years”.

The Engine Yard. Image: Google Maps (61326168)
The Engine Yard. Image: Google Maps (61326168)

The centre also mentioned parking charges and fines had also “negatively impacted” the centre, as well as affecting “customers’ experience but also putting our suppliers and staff in an impossible situation”.

At the meeting, held in October between management and representatives from The Idle Mole and three other retailers, the issue surrounding the retail village’s footfall was described as “dreadful”.

The Journal has seen an email which discussed the points covered, including a reference to the "disgraceful treatment" of Cafe Allez, a coffee shop which closed after it was not allowed by the castle to renew its lease.

It was also said: “There are so few people visiting the site that running a profitable business is not possible.

“There has also been a lack of marketing activity to generate footfall. This has resulted in local people boycotting the site and spreading negativity on all forms of social media.”

It was claimed that the tenants have seen “revenues fall between 50% and 80% in September, compared to the same period in previous year” and it “has been this way all year”.

An Engine Yard spokesperson has told the Journal the retail park is “always sad to see any of our tenants move on” but that the retail village “will continue to work hard to develop” and support “the best independent retailers in the region”.

The spokesperson added: “We listened to what our visitors and tenants were telling us and introduced free parking for all Engine Yard visitors in August.

"This provides a stay of up to four hours to give ample time to enjoy the shopping, events and the food and drink offer at The Engine Yard.

“Signage, website, customer newsletter and social media were all updated, and we’ve received many thousands of visitors in the last few months.”

B Jewellery, also located in the Engine Yard, has announced it will be closing for similar reasons.

The jewellery store however is still open as it has two other shops in Oakham and Wellingborough.

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