Compulsory purchases

4/1/13- The Viking Fish Bar, Bexhill-closing after many years to make way for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.
4/1/13- The Viking Fish Bar, Bexhill-closing after many years to make way for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.

IT’S the end of an era as one of Bexhill’s best known businesses closed in the wake of work beginning on the new link road.

This landmark fish and chip shop, which has stood on the crossroad of London Road and Little Common Road for decades, has shut and the owners moved out of the premises on Monday.

It is now ready for demolition in the first stage of Bexhill to Hastings link road development.

“We are closed for good,” owner Leonardo Coppola told the Observer as his family left.

“It’s not a nice feeling but there is nothing I can do about it -and there’s no use in complaining.”

He ran the Viking fish bar for almost 25 years and his family lived above the shop.

The Coppolas knew for years there was a chance they could lose their livelihood but concrete plans never emerged for them until last month, when they received a compulsory purchase order from East Sussex County Council.

“It never was 100 percent it would happen, but then on December 3/4 we got a letter saying that by January 7 they wanted us out. And so we are leaving today - it is not nice, but what can you do? I cannot go against the authority.

“They postponed before two or three times and I thought maybe it would happen now but out of the blue this came.

“Our customers don’t like it - they are not happy.

“ Some of those customers came here the first week we arrived, and a lot came in every week once or twice ever since.

“This was not just a business. I really feel we built up a nice relationship with the customers.”

Leonardo, 62, wife Jane and son Antonio will now take a break before returning to Bexhill to look for a new premises in the town to start over again.

He added: “I am sad. This was planned as a long-term business, not short-term, and we never planned to move out.”

Leonardo reckoned that the Viking fish bar had been on the site for some 80-90 years.

• The BHLR is set to claim another piece of history - the garage next it on London Road is one of the original premises used by Frank Nichols, creator of the Elva racing car.

This became the first Elva Engineering workshop, mainly building chassis frames for the sports racers and the first Couriers.

A website dedicated to the Elva car comments it is “perhaps ironic that the birthplace of such stunning cars will be lost to the needs of the modern motor vehicle.”

All buildings up to the council depot, which also closed on January 7, will be demolished to accommodate the road scheme.