Family-run Wimbledon Park butchers forced to close after 110 years


The closure will happen in two months as the freeholder refuses to renew the lease.


By Laura Wignall

A popular family-owned butcher’s shop in Wimbledon Park will be forced to close in two months because the freeholder refuses to renew the lease.

Mike Rooke bought the lease on the building, on Arthur Road, 46 years ago, although the premises has been a butchers since 1904.

Mr Rooke’s employee does not know where he will get work when they close and the disappointment has been felt by regulars who have frequented the butchers for a long time.

“It was so popular for Christmas turkey. The queue on Christmas Eve always went down to the bottom of the street,” said Wimbledon Park resident James Stone.

Diana Sterck, Merton Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, said: “It is has an amazing reputation in the borough. There are few local butchers left so it is well known.

“It is very successful business and still highly valued in a shopping parade that still reflects the traditional shopping experience, so it is a great shame to see it go.”

The freeholder, Mr Reed, inherited the lease from a Miss Penfold, as he was her only living relative, according to Mr Rooke.

“When Miss Penfold died, I thought this was my opportunity to buy the freehold so I could pass on the butchers when I retired,” said Mr Rooke.

He added that Mr Reed has three sons and wants to redevelop the flat and add an extra floor above, like the property next door.

“He is not interested in leasing the shop below, which is a real shame”, said the butcher.

Mr Rooke described how the high street had changed since he brought the butchers in 1968.

“There wasn’t anything you couldn’t get on this parade; fishmongers, greengrocers, hardware shop, united dairies, library, it was all here,” he said.

The only original shops that now remain are the chemist, post office, and bakery; the rest have been taken over by six hairdressers, two estate agents and three cafes, among others.

Merton Council confirmed that no permitted development application to change retail premises into residential has been submitted by the freeholder.

Tara Butler from Merton Council said that as Arthur Road is part of a town centre, the council would be minded to refuse the application if it was submitted and he would have to apply for planning permission. 

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