Popular long-running Leamington barbers and much-loved haberdashery could be forced out of their premises

Both businesses said they were given no prior warning about plans to convert their premises into apartments

Frank's and The Carolyn Rose School of Sewing in Regent Street, Leamington. Image courtesy of Google Maps.

A popular Leamington barber shop, whose owner set up the business more than 45 years ago, and the popular haberdashery next door could be forced out of their premises.

This is because their landlord's planning application to change the use of the properties where they are located and convert the space into two three-bedroom apartments.

Frank Passantino said that until a couple of days ago he was unaware of the application to Warwick District Council by SJ Holdings Ltd for the corner unit at 23 Regent Street from where he runs Frank's - and for number 21 next door, which is occupied by The Carolyn Rose School of Sewing.

Frank Passantino opened Frank's in 1976.

Mr Passantino. who opened the business in 1976 and still cuts customers' hair to this day, said: "I hadn't even been told by the landlord - it was next door who told me and now we only have two days before objections have to be in.

"I have seen the landlord maybe once in the last few years.

"In January, I will have been here for 46 years, it's the family business, I have no intention of retiring I want to stay and continue serving my customers.

"I wouldn't want to move, I have built up so much good will from here over the years.

Carolyn Sherratt, who owns The Carolyn Rose School of Sewing, and Frank Passantino of Frank's barbers in Leamington.

"I don't see how I can be closed down.

"Our lease ends in 2024 but I have the right to renew it for another 15 years."

Regent Street is within Leamington town centre's conservation area meaning any renovation and conversion work done to the building would have to be in keeping with the Regency period character of the area .

In her objection to the application, Carolyn Sherratt who owns The Carolyn Rose School of Sewing, said: "I was surprised to receive the neighbour notification of a planning application made by SJ Holdings Ltd as I have rented the shop premises for ten years now and had no prior warning from our landlord.

"I have established a well-respected business that serves the local community.

"We are the only sewing school in the area providing tuition for children and adults.

"Many of our customers and students have been attending since we opened in 2010, valuing the opportunity to take part in their hobby with others, providing them a safe space to relax, which many find is important for their mental health.

"Many people visiting Leamington come specifically to find us having researched the specialist shops online.

"Allowing more small shops to be converted to residential apartments will be detrimental to the retail experience in the town and I feel less people will come to Leamington if small

independent shops keep vanishing.

"We're aware that everyone can view planning applications and may believe we are closing down if they see this application.

"This will affect our business.

"We plan our timetable 12 months in advance and have already received bookings (with payment) for 2022.

"Having accepted grants and taken an £18,000 loan to survive the Covid closures, losing our premises would leave us unable to earn the money required to pay the tax on the grants and

repay the loan, which we have started doing on a monthly basis.

"We hope you will seriously consider the impact this would have on, not only us as a small business, but to the community of sewers that come from all over Warwickshire to visit and study

at our shop."

To find the application online visit https://planningdocuments.warwickdc.gov.uk/online-applications/ and enter the code W/21/0027Comments can be made on the application until Thursday (September 9).