Lostwithiel antique shop owners ‘driven out’ of town after bench and flower spat

The owners of an antiques shop in east Cornwall have said they are being “run out” of the town, as they get ready to close the shop’s doors for good. Andy and Christine Stone have run Andy’s Antiques in Lostwithiel for two years – but will be shutting up shop at the end of May.

Mr Stone said he has been “harassed” and is being pushed out of the town after a dispute involving some benches and flower beds. Around six weeks ago, Mr Stone decorated a stretch of pathway in front of the shop on Albert Terrace.

The pathway was adorned with two benches, a chair, some flower planters and a couple of items from the shop. Having spent over £200 on flowers alone, Mr Stone said he was pleased with the display and that people had told him how nice it was.

Read: Beloved St Mawes swan is ‘beheaded and dumped in the sea’

Outside the shop, next to the pathway with the items, is a hotly contested parking area, about which Mr Stone and some local residents had been clashing for a while. Having used it for loading and unloading for some time, Mr Stone had been told by locals that he shouldn’t use it at all as he doesn’t live in the town.

This disagreement, he said, had caused friction between the shop and one or two residents. Then, earlier this week, two employees of Cormac arrived at Andy’s Antiques following complaints about the display.

He said: “I thought the pavement belonged to the shop, I didn’t think it would be an issue. Someone reported me, two men from Cormac came storming into my shop demanding I need to move the planters and benches within 24 hours or they’d remove them for me.

“Said it’s obstructing the highway. I looked around and loads of other shops have the same kind of thing outside.

“But it’s just my shop reported, I believe I’m being victimised. 99% of people I’ve spoken to think it’s disgusting what happened. It looked lovely. It’s sad, we are going to open again on Wednesday but only for a bit.

The display outside Andy’s shop in Lostwithiel

“Because of this it’s a stress going to work each day, concerned if I’ll be harassed for parking outside my shop. For two years we’ve worked all week every day and we’ve just had enough.”

He continued that he and his wife are now considering moving out of the county, not being from here originally. Mr Stone explained he doesn’t feel welcome, though “99.99% of people” in Lostwithiel have been “wonderful”.

He said: “This shows, the parking situation in Lostwithiel is a joke at best. Lostwithiel is a beautiful place full of brilliant people but the one or two who have ruined it.

“We don’t want to cause problems for other people. But to have a parking space to unload at the end of the day is not asking too much.”

The shop has been closed since Tuesday when Cormac inspected the premises. Now, Mr and Mrs Stone plan to reopen until May 31, when they will hand their keys back.

A Cormac spokesperson said of the order to move the display: “A member of our team visited Mr Stone following a report from a member of the public that the pavement was being blocked by furniture, antique objects and planters.

“The Council’s records show that the public highway extends right up to the external wall of the shop. This includes the pavement as well as the road. Mr Stone has been advised that any items blocking the pavement should be removed and the area kept free of obstruction for safe use by members of the public.”