Spirit Group under fire for eviction of flower girl

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Spirit Group, formerly Punch Retail, has come under fire after threatening to evict a flower stall owner from one of its pub car parks.Elaine Kelly,...

Spirit Group, formerly Punch Retail, has come under fire after threatening to evict a flower stall owner from one of its pub car parks.

Elaine Kelly, who runs the flower stall at the Baring Hall Hotel in Grove Park, Lewisham, is devastated that she has been asked to move.

Mrs Kelly, given a month's notice to vacate the space, says she wants more time to close down the business, which was set up by her father 24 years ago.

She has spoken out to local newspapers and has accused Spirit Group of tripling the rent on the stall.

But Spirit Group, which bought the pub in October 1999, claims the company has been unfairly represented in the press.

A spokeswoman told thePublican.com: "The problem is that the flower business has expanded both in size and from operating just three times a week to operating five times a week.

"If we had been approached beforehand we would have explained that for safety reasons, the side entrance cannot be blocked. And we would have also tried to discuss a fair rent for a fair space.

"We haven't done anything wrong in this situation. We've given Mrs Kelly a month - which is well within the notice period. We are not against Mrs Kelly and her business but we need the space."

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