THE Top of The Town area of Basingstoke has suffered a blow with the loss of two well-known local businesses.

The owners of Italian delicatessen Delissimo will not renew its lease in Church Street, and will close at the end of the month or when its stock runs out, whichever comes first.

The loss of the shop follows the closure of Censo, the bar next door to Delissimo, earlier this month. The bar and the delicatessen shared the lease on the building, which is owned by pub company Enterprise Inns.

Delissimo opened in May 2008, selling produce such as Italian hams, cheeses, pasta and sandwiches. It is run two couples, Lucia and Darren Hoynes and Tony and Silvana Tambasica. Mrs Hoynes is Mr Tambascia’s sister.

Mrs Tambascia told The Gazette the quartet could not afford the rent or the business rates.

She said: “We cannot renew our lease in the current economic climate. It is very sad, especially as we had built up a great customer base. Unfortunately, not enough people came through the door. People are being a bit cautious with their money.

“It is a shame – we thought we would do something different in Basingstoke but it did not work out.”

Censo, owned by Hayden Gowan, and his brothers Damian and Bradley, opened in 2007, and underwent a major refurbishment in 2010 that saw the 300-year-old building decorated in bright colours. Hayden said: “We were happy to continue but we needed a more realistic rent.”