A FAMILY business who feel ‘forced out’ by landlord VIVID has said it still remains unclear whether they will be able to continue trading once work starts on the Winklebury Centre regeneration project.

The Gazette reported in December how Greenways Newsagents had been given three years left, ahead of the demolition of the building.

VIVID said at the time that it was working with current occupants of the centre as it prepared a planning application, and wanted to see them take up the offer of a unit in the new centre.

Commenting on this, co-owner of Greenways Jackie Lambell said: “They say that they would like us to have another unit, but the option is to go into a portacabin for a good year or year and a half which is certainly out of the question.

“We don’t know one day to the next as to what is going on.”

Jackie continued: “Although I feel the centre does need redeveloped, if it becomes flats that’s not progress.”

When asked what solution would work for Greenways to be able to continue trading, Jackie added: “They would have to build the units first and then move us into them.”

Jackie says the family has had the possibility of demolition looming over them many years, making planning as a business extremely difficult.

“We have never been able to do what we want,” she said.

Encouraged by the support of customers, as well as Cllr for Winklebury and Manydown Angie Freeman and MP for Basingstoke Maria Miller, Jackie and her brother Barry hoped to fight what they view as inevitable eviction.

However, after recently losing their mother, Pat, who helped them in the shop, they feel the fight may soon be over.

“We will stay as long as we can, but we are finding it much more difficult now that mum is gone,” said Jackie.

“She has opened our eyes that life is short and the battle that we have had over the years, it’s ground us down.”

Mike Shepherd, director of new business and development at VIVID, said: “Over the past two months we’ve met with all of the commercial leaseholders within the Winklebury Centre to update them on our progress with the planning application. Our plans include new, high-quality and well-located space for the retailers to remain in Winklebury. We’ll also be providing the option of temporary retail space, to minimise any trading disruption.

“We understand that the leaseholders within the Centre have different circumstances and plans for the future and we’ll continue to work closely with them once planning permission has been granted to accommodate their needs.

“We’re currently working towards autumn 2021 for the submission of our planning application and will share our plans publicly prior to submitting the application.”