A SHOPKEEPER says he is being forced to close his store because his lease is not being renewed.

John Morgan opened Chestnut Store, on Chestnut Drive South in Pennington, six years ago and has grown the business into a community shop that he believes is valued by a loyal customer base.

He claims he was made a verbal promise by his landlord that the lease would be renewed, but three weeks ago he received a letter asking him to vacate the premises by September 28.

"I've grown this business from nothing," he said.

"We have become more of a community presence than a normal shop.

"If an elderly customer can't get home I will drive them home and will drop groceries off for people who can't get out of the house.

"All my customers are shocked by the news and don't think it is fair that this can be done."

The store has three members of staff - two full-time and one part-time - who will have to be made redundant if the business closes.

Mr Morgan says he has been told his only option is to take the matter to court - a process that could take years and cost thousands of pounds.

"I don't think my landlord Mr Gola understands how popular myself and staff are with our customers and I stand to lose about £58,000, which is a hard pill to swallow," he added.

"There is no option for us to move as there are only three other stores here and they are occupied."

The Journal contacted Mr Morgan's landlord Umesh Gola but he declined to comment.