A POPULAR newsagents that has been a fixture in a community for many years is shutting up shop for good.
Ponteland News in Bell Villas will close tomorrow evening because the lease was due for renewal and owner Tom Poad could not afford the increase imposed by the landlord.
He started working there as a paperboy 25 years ago and took on the business 10 years later.
The 35-year-old said: “We were paying £12,000 each year but the new lease terms were asking for £21,500 per annum, which means I can no longer run the newsagents.
“We’ve had lots of support from local residents over the years and even customers who haven’t said much to me before have been really nice and wished us well for the future.
“I now need to find a job myself, but the main sadness I’m feeling is for the village and smaller places nearby as it will have a negative effect. Some people have even been reduced to tears after hearing the news.
“Once I took it on, I was able to get more vans in place to make more deliveries, which made a big difference. Although the number of them has reduced in recent years, I still had 550 delivery accounts and some areas will no longer be able to get newspapers delivered as a result of the closure.”
The newsagents has been run by a number of different families since the 1920s and Mr Poad had support from his father Kevan, wife Mandy, and staff including Josie, who is known to many Ponteland residents.
The building’s landlord is Mark Reay, son of Anna who ran the coffee shop next door for decades, and he now lives in Spain.