A trader who borrowed ‘a considerable amount of money’ from friends and family to buy a takeaway business at Fantasy Island, in Ingoldmells, says she is devastated she is not being invited to return next year.
Saira Kazmi opened at Fantasy Kebab and Curry House, in Sea Lane, in April after buying the business from Atif Suduzri, who runs the Bombay Grill next door and has also been served notice after 16 years on the market.
Miss Kazmi, who took on the venture after graduating in business and marketing at the University of Leicester, said: “I bought it for a considerable amount of money that I borrowed from family and friends. I paid £2,000 a week rent for the unit and about £15,000 on equipment and improving it. What am I to do now – how can I pay my family back and my student loan?”
According to Fantasy Island, Miss Kasmi is one of a number of businesses who will not have their licences renewed next year as plans to redevelop the theme park under new ownership take shape.
Director of finance Claire Draper said: “We do not make these decisions lightly. A number of traders have received letters informing them we will not be renewing their licences, which are given on an annual basis. Along with other businesses along the coast, we want to improve the area and promote it.
“We have worked with Miss Kazmi throughout the season to help her improve her takeaway. However, on a number of occasions she has been in breach of her licence conditions, including being late with rent and selling clothes from the premises.
“We know times are hard, especially at the start of the season. But we have to protect all of our traders. Selling goods not agreed on the licence impacts others.”
However, this is no consolation for Miss Kazmi. She said: “I worked from 9am to 3am the next morning all season but admit it has been a struggle. I have always paid my rent though and tried to sell other goods to raise the money.
“I was proud to be part of Fantasy Island and promoted their logo on the top of new menus I had published to promote my brand. But the worry is affecting my health now.
“What shall I do know? I am just a woman with all this heavy machinery that I cannot lift. Where will I go?”
Mr Suduzri said: “I have been here for 16 years. I am very sad my licence is not being renewed.”