Well-loved Bexhill tearoom closing

Janet Van Den Bussche at Tea Beside the Sea
Janet Van Den Bussche at Tea Beside the Sea

A much-loved tearoom in Bexhill is closing at the end of this month.

Tea Beside the Sea, situated on The Colonnade, has a lease which expires on October 31.

Owner Janet Van Den Bussche said the tearoom had been in town for the last four years and it was with ‘great sadness’ that it was having to close.

She said the business was closing because Rother District Council is looking for a long-term tenant for the premises.

Janet said: “We have been in the premises for four years and we had a lease, which kept on being extended per year. The council’s vision has always been to have something more glamorous there like a restaurant.

“Rother District Council has never been able to get anyone else to take the premises because of the high cost of renovations.”

She said she believed her cafe was much better suited for the site.

Janet said she was upset with the council, saying the authority had not given her enough time to tie up everything and vacate.

She added: “It’s unacceptable to wait until a couple of weeks before our lease ends to tell us. I received an email last Thursday (October 12) from them saying their decision was to take on another tenant.

“We need extra time in order to sort everything out. I asked if we could stay a little while longer, say until January 1 so as to sort things out.”

In August 2015, more than 1,500 people signed two petitions in support of Tea Beside the Sea staying.

A Rother District Council spokesman said: “The council’s intention was always to find a permanent tenant for the Colonnade and this was made clear to the tenant when the short-term lease was first awarded, and reiterated throughout the tenancy period.

“On October 2, we took a proposal to cabinet for a long-term lease to be awarded to a new tenant following a thorough bidding process, and this was agreed.

“A decision by cabinet cannot be acted upon until the official call in period has passed which means we were unable to confirm with the current tenant until early this week. However, the current lease ends on October 31 and the tenant was aware of this.

“We look forward to sharing details of the new tenant as soon as we are able.”