Brighton restaurant closes, blaming rent increase

Posted On 05 Oct 2022 at 4:17 pm

A much-loved Brighton restaurant is leaving its home of 15 years, blaming an increase in rent.

Eastern Eye in London Road says it is now looking for new premises, but in the meantime it will be closing on October 26.

The property is now on the market for £75,000 a year – although the landlord, Legal-Link Limited, says it had not asked Eastern Eye for this much, and had actually significantly reduced the rent.

In a message on its website, Chef Murali said: “We would like to inform you we’ll be closing up Eastern Eye in our current place (London Road) on 26 October, 2022.

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“That has always been a welcoming place for all our customers since 1 September, 2008.

“It has been a very fulfilling journey with you all, all these years.

“Unfortunately we need to vacate due to increased rent.

“We are looking for alternate places within our affordable rent budget.

“Thanking all the customers who have always been supportive and been the pillar for our restaurant for 15 years. It has been a pleasure.

“We will be updating you about our re-opening in an alternative venue through our website as soon as we find a very favourable place.”

Shaun Ahwel, speaking for Legal-Link, said: “We’re a little disappointed that the tenant has decided to put up a sign that states they are vacating due to the rent increasing when this is simply not the case.

“The tenants were actually looking to sell the business a couple of years ago, understandably due to the impact of Covid-19.

“With the lease coming to an end, the tenant was offered a significantly reduced rent to renew. This unfortunately was not agreeable to the tenant. For the duration of the lease, we have always helped the tenant where we can.

“The unit is currently being marketed at £75k as this was the recommended market value by the agent.

“We manage a number of commercial units around the city and they will not be experiencing a significant raise in rent, as is the case with Eastern Eye.”

Legal-Link, bought the freehold of the shop and flat above in 2011 for £250,000. According to the Land Registry, The owner of Eastern Eye, Murralidharan Maduramuthu, bought a nine-year leasehold in 2013, which expires on 25 October this year. No price is recorded.

Mr Ahwal said Eastern Eye has been leasing the property on a full repair and insuring lease and had paid rent on a quarterly basis.

Similarly sized properties in the city centre currently for let are priced at around £45,000 – although these do not have permission to be used as a restaurant.

Legal-Link Limited, which is owned by Ahmed and Sharron El-Ahwal, is a property development company which buys and sells real estate and operates housing association properties.

According to Companies House, it owns dozens of residential and commercial properties in Brighton and Hove.

  1. Up at the Crack of Dawn Reply

    Another much loved local business sacrificed on the altar of landlord greed.

    • Chris Reply

      Apparently not if you read the above in full

      • Up at the Crack of Dawn Reply

        I have read the article. I don’t believe the landlord’s weasel words. Greed. And an empty unit on an already down-at-heel London Road. Stop being so gullible.

  2. Bill Sykes Reply

    I can’t imagine there will be too many takers, at 75k pa in London Road.

  3. Gilly Taylor Reply

    That’s still an incredibly high rent for the area even though it includes the flat above, add on business rates, energy bills and staffing costs it’s a wonder they have managed to carry on for so long!

  4. Dave mac Reply

    75k for London road… Who valued it that mad hatter. There is a shop 5 doors down going for £20k still a bit over priced for the area.
    Landlords are truly out of control and need commercial rent controls to save the high street.
    He paid £250k and wants 75k a year… Greed

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