A FAMILY-RUN cafe that’s shutting its doors has slammed Teignbridge Council after they said the council’s ‘poor communications’ led to the failure of extending their lease in good time.

East Cliff Cafe in Teignmouth has been serving beachgoers for 21 years. The family said that ‘poor communication’ on the district council’s part has forced them to walk away from the business. 

Iain, Jackie and son Roger Palmer, have accused the district council – which administers the lease for the building of the cafe – of reapeatedly ‘kicking the can down the road’ which led to their decision. 

Incensed son, Roger Palmer, said: ‘I’ve been working here since I was 21, I’m now 40. It’s such a shame, we were willing to spend a lot of money to update  the building.’

The family say that they have been overwhelmed with messages of thanks and support from customers in the town.

‘I’ve been given so many flowers that my house looks like a funeral directors’ said dad, Iain. 

He added: ‘The council is going with the line that they offered to extend our lease but it’s not the full picture. 

‘We had to give a legal three months notice and let staff know.

‘We have lives and we need to be able to plan ahead, not to be strung along with delay after delay.’ 

Roger agreed: ‘Teignbridge Council are making out that they have been flexible. This is not how we see it.

‘There was a complete lack of communication and it started before  the pandemic.’

Roger said that the district council had been strangely quiet about renewing their lease, saying that the council had kicked the can down the road on every occasion until it was too late. 

The closure of the cafe caught the eye of Teignmouth artist Laura Wall last weekend, who shared a sketch of East Cliff Cafe with a thank you for ‘21 years of top notch bacon rolls.’

Teignbridge Council has said that it ‘lacked capacity to negotiate a new tenancy’ at the time.

A spokesman for the district council said: ‘The current tenant inquired about renewing their lease almost a year ahead of its expiry date and while we indicated we would be happy to do so we didn’t have the capacity at that point to negotiate a new tenancy.

‘The tenant subsequently gave notice to quit at the end of the tenancy (August 14) and declined an extension offer.

‘We will begin marketing the café to find a new tenant in the next few weeks.’