CaRT to oust Foxton Flight café owner after 15 years

Published: Monday, 29 March 2021

THE Canal & River Trust have the intention of taking over the café at Foxton Locks 'to do something different'.

Even though its present owner Gary Hives has run the popular business successfully for 15 years along with his wife Jenny.

FoxtonCoffeeShopCaused uproar

This has caused uproar with already over 1,750 people having signed a petition backing Gary and Jenny to fight to save his beloved café, including support from MP Neil O'Brien.

They are pledging their support to Gary Hives, 64, as he wages a battle to hang on to the waterside Top Lock Coffee Stop at the top of Foxton flight on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal.

Not only have the hard-working pair run the popular business for 15 years but had hoped to pass the business on to their daughter Kelly Foster and her daughter Hayley, who have often helped when busy.

Refusing to renew lease

But the trust that owns the building, are refusing to renew his lease in October—it plans to take over their success and run the well established business.

Devastated Gary, told the Harborough Mail:

“I can’t believe that the Trust are doing this to us. We have built up and forged our fantastic business here week in week out over the last 15 years—and it’s become a great success.

“The old British Waterways ran the café here for 18 months before us and lost a lot of money, they couldn’t make it work.

foxton top locksVery hard to take

But CaRT want to take it back as the pair have made it so successful after all this time, so it is easy to see how very hard to take for them after successfully renewed four leases—ranging from 18 months to five years, with Gary adding:

“But after an extremely hard year, the last thing we expected was to have our bid to renew our lease in October rejected.

“We have ploughed so much blood, sweat and tears into running the Top Lock Coffee Stop since the first day we all moved in.

“We have all put so much love and sheer hard toil into it. This café is right at the centre of our livesit runs in our blood.

"We had the letter from the trust telling us we’d have to get out.  “It’s come as a massive shock, a real bombshell.”

 About the fast-growing petition backing their struggle, Gary told he was very humbled and honoured that so many people are getting behind us, so he will fight on.

Something different at the site

A spokesman from Canal & River Trust told it had recently written to the operator of the Top Lock café at Foxton Locks, Mr Gary Hives, informing him of our future plans for the site, adding:

"Instead, we intend to invest in the café and offer something different at the site, improving the facilities and opportunity to engage more visitors regarding the importance of their local canal and how to play an active role in looking after it.”

“Whilst this isn’t the outcome that he had been hoping for, we are grateful for all that he has done at Foxton and have tried to give him as much notice as possible about the decision.

“I should also add that the lease is with Gary, not his family, and has never contained any option to pass the lease down the family line. “We’re really grateful for what he’s done at Foxton but we’re now looking to do something different with the café.”

Many boaters have called at the café and would possibly like to support Gary and sign the petition set up to save his café here: Petition