Tears as fruit and veg stall is moved off Tonbridge pavement

PICK OF THE BUNCH: Robert Smith packs up with his helpers Beth Lester, Nancy Smith, Megan Cobb, daughter Lizzie and Jo Parkin

Tears as fruit and veg stall is moved off Tonbridge pavement

by Andy Tong | 24th April 2019

THE greengrocer’s stall on the pavement of Tonbridge High Street will be packed away for the last time this week after a quarter of a century.

Robert Smith’s Pavilion Flowers has run the open-air shop for 25 years but, as reported in the Times, he has been told by the arcade’s owners, American bank JP Morgan, that it must close because of insurance issues.

Mr Smith and his staff dismantled the flower stall sited in the middle of the Pavilion walk-through on Saturday [April 20] before moving into an adjacent retail unit.

And this week the fruit and vegetable stall will be taken off the pavement and positioned where the flowers were.

However, he has been told by the bank’s asset management company Columbia Threadneedle that it could be moved at any time.

'Hopefully, with the help of our customers, we can keep going. There’s nothing we can do about it, we just hope for the best'

“We had tears this morning on our last day,” Mr Smith said. “It’s the end of 25 years.

“This afternoon there were more tears – but we’re optimistic as some of our loyal customers have said ‘good luck’ and told us they would still support us.”

He added: “This is the last week of fruit and veg in the current location, then we move to the old flower stall site.

“Hopefully, with the help of our customers, we can keep going. There’s nothing we can do about it, we just hope for the best.”

JP Morgan have provided the unit rent-free for the first six months and then on a reduced rent which will climb to full market value over five years.

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