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PERMANENT CLOSURE OF THE HADDENHAM CHERRY TREE

Dear Customers & Friends, 

 

It is with sincere regret that we have to announce the closure of The Haddenham Cherry, with effect from Sunday 14th January 2024. 

 

We should start by saying that over the last few years we have been overwhelmed with the kindness, loyaltyand support of the local and wider community. During our Cherry Tree journey, we have been lucky enough tomeet and work with some incredible people and businesses, most of whom have become friends who we will truly miss seeing day to day. 

 

Since our opening in October 2019, we have wrestled with a series of unprecedented challenges:

▪ The Covid pandemic ▪ Huge cost of living increases ▪ A major change in customers’ social habits

 

And most pivotal to us, a family bereavement that has left us all devastated.   It also resulted in an extended closure of the business, the impact of which, we have never really recovered from.   

 

We have worked hard to become a community hub andhope we provided something for everyone including: 

 

▪ Midwifery advice clinic (free of charge)

 

▪ During lockdown

- Milk, bread, egg & flour supplies and delivery

- An outdoor Winter Fayre to support local traders

- Pizza takeaway & delivery

 

▪ A safe, supportive space for Mums and young families▪ The Chatty Table Scheme ▪ Monthly Quiz nights▪ Local Charity Events ▪ Venue for:o Crafting groupso Weddingso Birthdayso Wakeso Christenings and Baby Showerso Fayreso Baby Balleto Wreath Makingo Baby / toddler groupso Breakfast with Santao Open Mic Nightso Dog shows!

 

Throughout this period, we have continued to operate by subsidising the business from personal resources and savings. We did this as we really wanted The Cherry Tree to work and have loved being a part of our community. 

Over the past 18 months it has become increasingly obvious that this approach is not sustainable; even with the amazing support from our customers, family and friends.

 

As a result, we have explored a range of options to enable us to continue.  These included:

 

▪ Seeking external investment from interested locals. Despite a number of interested parties and financial commitments - we didn’t get to the figure required.

 

▪ Seeking an external buyer for the business and premises. During the last 18 months we have had 4 “firm” commitments for purchase.  However, thesehave all fallen by the wayside - for a variety of reasons. 

 

▪ Seeking planning approval for the development of the existing car park. 

This development proposal included the creation of a new and improved tarmacked car park and much needed enhancements to the remaining outdoor space. The proposed sale of the development plot would have provided the necessary capital injection toallow the business to continue for many years to come. 

 

Unfortunately, East Cambridgeshire District Council finally (after 18 months) rejected the application on grounds relating to their concerns for the ongoing viability of the business (with a reduced outdoor space). There was also an objection from Cambridgeshire Highways - the details of which seem particularly nonsensical considering recent approvals granted in the village. 

 

In summary, this lack of the required investment / capital injection into the business has meant that East Cambridgeshire DC, by their rejection of the application, have achieved exactly the opposite of what they stated as their concern, in the rationale for their decision. This, despite our continued warnings that this would be the outcome. 

 

Taking account of the challenges referenced above (and common to all small businesses) we hoped that ECDC would take a pragmatic view and be doing all that they can to support local employers.  For us, this has proved not to be the case and has been ‘the straw that broke the camels back’. 

 

As a family, we have put our heart and soul (and considerable money) into The Cherry Tree and think wehave provided a needed and much-loved community asset. We have built a great team of staff (and have employed more than 20 local people in full / part-time roles over the last 4 years) and feel truly sorry to now be saying goodbye to them. We hope they will all find new roles locally and wish them the best for the future. 

 

Finally, we need to thank all of our wonderful customers, suppliers, local businesses and employees for their support over the years - we certainly wouldn’t have made it so far without you.  

 

Please pop in and see us this week, we would love to see you before we close on Sunday and of course, any gift vouchers will be accepted until we close. 

 

Best wishes and love to you all, 

 

The Cherry Tree Team 

 

January 8th, 2024.

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