More than 4,000 islanders have thrown their weight behind a bid to stop a popular coastal kiosk from closing in two weeks – but the Constable is maintaining that it must close to allow its “appalling” neighbouring loos to be refurbished.
Express revealed yesterday that La Pulente-based, The HideOut, would have to close at the end of this month – meaning job losses for 12 staff – after the parish declined to renew its permit to operate.
With the backing of Senator and former St. Brelade Constable Steve Pallett, its owner, Karl Sutton, has now made moves to force a Parish Assembly on the matter.
Pictured: HideOut owner Karl Sutton has made moves to force a Parish Assembly on the matter of his business's permit.
But, amid this pressure, St. Brelade Constable Mike Jackson is standing firm and refusing to renew the permit because the kiosk’s presence would get in the way of plans to develop dilapidated neighbouring toilets.
They were bought up several years ago by Shell House Limited from Jersey Property Holdings – the managers of the Government’s property portfolio – for around £100,000, with plans approved to transform them into a café. But those plans never came to fruition.
With that in mind, the Constable said he had originally been “minded to renew the permit” – until he became aware that the company had recently changed ownership and that the new owners were keen to press ahead with the toilet redevelopment.
Pictured: The HideOut's future is currently in dispute due to conflicts with nearby toilet developments.
“I have to say [the decision not to renew the permit] was added to by virtue of the fact that I go down there quite often with my dogs, walking at the back of the toilet. They’re in an absolutely disgusting state and once I was greeted on one of my walks with an adult squatting in front of the toilets because she couldn’t get in because the door was locked and I thought, ‘This is not acceptable.’,” Constable Jackson explained, adding that he had also received reports of rats.
“We have had complaints within the parish about the condition of the toilets. There’s much debate about who should have been maintaining them and whether the previous owners were In default, but that is a matter for property holdings. In the interests of parishioners in general, I do feel that we need to get this toilet business sorted out.”
He also noted that it was important to have functioning toilets near food and drink premises, noting that the nearest ones are based at Le Braye, saying: “Three quarters of a mile is a long way to walk cross-legged, let’s face it.”
Mr Sutton said he had previously agreed that The HideOut would move 28 days after the completion of the toilets’ development, and had questioned why this could not continue.
Pictured: The HideOut has set up a petition islanders to save it from closure.
The Constable said this is something that “can be discussed”, but expressed doubts that this would be practical.
“…There’ll be lorries and trucks going to this site. They’ve got to remove asbestos, they’ve got to deal with the drains, and cut off electricity and it’s just not going to be practical for The HideOut to continue trading under those circumstances, putting the public in peril.”
He said he was very keen to see a food business continue on the site – “I appreciate that it’s popular, and I woudn’t want to take that away from the public – it’s a lovely spot” – but that this was not something he should be involved in.
Pictured: The HideOut is currently located at La Pulente.
“I don’t mind who runs the café if Mr Sutton wants to run with them, it’s up to him to negotiate, but I don’t want to get involved in commercial negotiations.”
His comments come as calls continue to grow to renew the permit from The HideOut’s supporters.
A petition set up by Mr Sutton following Express’s article yesterday garnered 1,000 signatures within four hours, 1,500 in five, and then hit around 4,000 this morning.
Many signatories took the opportunity to share their distress at hearing the news of the kiosk’s potential closure and praise the wooden shack for its foodie and community contributions.
“The HideOut is a wonderful local business that kept hearts and stomachs warm throughout the pandemic. It would be a travesty to close it without a replacement,” one islander wrote.
Another added: “We need to save these small businesses who gave us so much during lockdown.”
On Facebook, regular visitors to Jersey from the UK also shared their support – as did another local kiosk, Rhona’s at the Beach.
“Our good friends at The HideOut Jersey are being treated pretty unfairly in our opinion and we’d love to see it remain open, share the love people and support them if you can.”
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