A FAMILY-run bike shop based in Winklebury say they are “devastated” after they were kicked out of their store by Vivid.

Winklebury Cycles has been trading for 30 years but was forced to temporarily close last Thursday (October 8) after the housing association that owns the property repossessed it, giving no notice.

Proprietor Gary Langron has now been forced to seek legal advice and says he has been refused entry and has no access to his stock.

But Vivid have defended themselves, saying the move was “essential” and because of “serious breaches of the lease which included the illegal removal and disposal of asbestos”.

Vivid took control of the building on Thursday, Gary says, adding: “Vivid refused me entry or access to my stock, caused damage to my goods and effectively threw me out on the street.

“As a direct result of this action staff are unpaid, orders unfulfilled and my business almost terminally damaged.

“I have been a tenant for 30 years in a building which has constantly failed, I have never missed a rent payment, caused the landlord any issue whatsoever and my family have been devastated by the actions of Vivid.

"I feel it's just a way of getting rid of a tenant ready for their new development."

Asbestos was first found in the property three years ago, according to Gary, after repairs were carried out to fix a leak in the unit, which he said was in a “very poor state of repair”.

“Considering the many surveys the landlord had made and the fact this was a 1960s building, this was hardly a surprise, but I was pleased it was found and Vivid advised me they would resolve the matter,” he told The Gazette.

“During the course of the next three years we had numerous Vivid and surveyor visits, which we assisted them on. There was numerous back and forth reference over three years but nothing actually got done.

“As Vivid were aware of the situation and seemed in no rush to resolve it, I too was relaxed as we were safe and continued to trade.”

But after another leak in March of this year caused the ceiling to collapse, Gary tried to step up his efforts to contact Vivid to get the solution fixed, but received no response.

“I was now in a position where I was providing an important service and there was a chance the building ceiling was unsafe, at this point I thought I had no option but to resolve the matter at my own expense.”

Over the summer, Gary told Vivid what had happened and received “numerous communications”.

“I acknowledge I did not respond as quickly as I should but I was running the business and did try to call Vivid several times but no one would talk to me.”

Gary says that the business will reopen soon “but at huge personal expense and only thanks to the hundreds of people who have contacted us to register their support and disgust at the action of Vivid.”

Vivid have hit back at Gary’s claims, saying they tried to arrange for the removal of asbestos, but access was “refused”.

Jonathan Cowie, chief operating officer at Vivid, said: “I can confirm that it’s been essential for us to take repossession of this commercial unit due to serious breaches of the lease which included the illegal removal and disposal of asbestos arranged by the tenant.

“This is despite us trying to arrange access to the property to allow for the safe and controlled disposal of any harmful material, and included offering alternative commercial space for the business to continue trading during the works but this was refused.

“Unfortunately this illegal activity left us with no option but to take repossession and for the shop to stop trading.

“We would like to reassure the local community that the property is being secured to prevent access and the relevant authorities have been notified, including the Health and Safety Executive.

“The safety of the public is our top priority and this is a matter we take extremely seriously. Works will be undertaken to ensure the building is safe to occupy in the future.”