The owner of a popular coastal food kiosk has launched a campaign to save the outlet from closure at the end of the month, as well as the jobs of 12 staff, after the parish refused to renew its permit to operate.
There are just two weeks left until the permit for The HideOut expires, but Karl Sutton says he has heard little by way of a solution from St. Brelade Constable Mike Jackson.
The kiosk has been serving hot and cold beverages, burgers, chips and other treats from La Pulente on a scenic chunk of parish land since 2016.
It was initially given permission to operate for one year by then-Constable Steve Pallett, who then renewed the permit for a further three years.
Pictured: The Hideout is a popular kiosk based at La Pulente. (Martin Perkins/The HideOut)
When the permit came up for renewal this year, Mr Sutton says the current Constable told him it would not be possible because The HideOut would get in the way of the proposed redevelopment of a neighbouring public toilet into a café.
The toilet was purchased from the Government by Shell House Limited for around £100,000 in 2014, with plans approved the following year to put a café on site.
Mr Sutton says he was aware of these plans when he set up, which is why he agreed a provision with the then-Constable to leave within 28 days of any new café being completed – but construction never began on the café.
He said he would be more than happy to continue with this provision in place – and has communicated this to the Parish – but has still been refused permission to operate. The HideOut now faces closure at the end of the month.
“There’s no valid reason… If you were my neighbour, it’s like me knocking on your door saying I would be storing materials in your garden,” Mr Sutton explained.
The uncertainty, he said, has been enormously “distressing” – particularly as it puts his staff in peril, ranging from those “aged 16 years old with their first Saturday job” to adults who have “got bills to pay”.
“There’s no reason to allow 12 people to lose their jobs.”
Moreover, he says the Parish’s decision fails to recognise the community benefit the kiosk has had, and the harm that taking it away will cause.
Mr Sutton explained that the HideOut has built up a collective of regulars and visitors of all ages and walks of life, and that the kiosk is a keen supporter of local suppliers and charities, such as Healing Waves.
During the pandemic, it was “one of the only businesses to remain open” throughout lockdown, providing food and drinks to frontline workers, without drawing on financial support from the Government.
“We’ve created such a good atmosphere down there… Such a good community. To have it taken away, it’s not right.”
He’s now asking islanders to get behind the bid to rescue The HideOut and sharing with the parish what its loss would mean.
Senator Steve Pallett is already behind the campaign – and will be backing Mr Sutton in forcing a Parish Assembly on the matter if necessary.
“I didn’t want to do this, I didn’t want to bring a requête, but I need to protect my business, my livelihood, my staff.”
Express has contacted the St. Brelade Constable for comment, and is awaiting a response.
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