Carshalton High Street's Country Harvest closes as traditional high street changes shape
Residents fear the closure of a landmark shop on Carshalton High Street is a sign of things to come.
Greengrocers and fruiterer's Country Harvest closed on Tuesday (February 5), but nobody thought to tell manager Martin Green.
Mr Green arrived at work on the morning only to find the locks changed and the doors bolted.
He said: "As far as I knew I was working. I arrived with stock, but couldn't get into the shop. I spoke to the owner and he said we would not be opening there again."
Mr Green said the shop was due to close when the lease expired in April but did not expect to be out of work so soon.
He said: "Maybe the landlord and the owner had a disagreement, I keep out of that side of things, it's down to them. All I do is come to work. I'm sure I'll find something else. It was sad not to be able to say goodbye to all the old customers."
Mr Green used to work in the neighbouring butchers but it closed six months ago.
He said: "The landlord owns the whole row of shops. From what I have heard, he will knock the greengrocers and the butchers together, for Tesco Express or Pizza Express, maybe even a Starbucks to buy."
It is another nail in the coffin for High Streets according to Kathy McGuinness, editor and founder of Local Mums Online.
She said: "It's a sad situation. The butchers has gone, now the greengrocers. Carshalton has an amazing high street and with such a tradition, it's not like other generic high streets. Country Harvest have been there as long as I can remember, I spoke a member of staff and she had been working there for 22 years."
But it is not all doom and gloom according to the campaigner, who is hoping to start a new street market by Carshalton ponds with the help of environmental group Ecolocal.
Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington, said: "This is very disappointing news. Country Harvest was a well loved greengrocers that supplied excellent quality produce. There was a very strong demand from local shoppers to keep the store open."