LEGAL representatives for cafe owners told to retender for their business at Oswestry's Heritage Centre, have told the town council their clients 'have no intention' of giving up the premises.

Carol and Charles Roberts have run the cafe at the Heritage Centre, in Church Street, for more than two decades but were told earlier this year that Oswestry Town Council has planned restructuring works for the building, and intend to offer the licence out for retender.

The move has caused controversy with Mr and Mrs Roberts receiving huge public support, and now the pair's solicitors Shoosmiths, in Manchester, have sent a legal letter to their counterparts Lanyon Bowdler, acting for the council, stating the termination notice is invalid as after 2006, they have acted in a periodic tenancy.

It says that the pair are eligible for compensation from the town council but are willing to consider any attempts of negotiation over the tenancy agreement.

The letter, which has been seen by The Advertizer, said: "We note your client seeks possession further to its stated intention of redevelopment/refurbishment of the premises.

"Assuming your client now serves notice in accordance with LTA 1954, in due course, our clients will be entitled to statutory compensation if the tenancy is subsequently terminated in accordance with that s.30(1)(f) LTA 1954.

"The current rateable value of the premises is £8,700. As our clients have been in continuous business occupation of the premises exceeding 14 years, they will be entitled to £17,400 by way of statutory compensation.

"Notwithstanding our client’s statutory rights pursuant to the tenancy, they would be willing to consider any proposals your client wishes to make for a negotiated surrender of the tenancy and payment of our client’s entitlement to statutory compensation.

"In the meantime, we confirm that our clients have no intention of giving up possession of the premises to your client on September 30, 2020 pursuant to the notice."

However, Oswestry Town Council says its position has not changed, despite the legal letter, and still plan to retender the licences for the business once the building work is completed.

And they re-iterated that Mr and Mrs Roberts will be invited to apply for the licence once more.

A council spokesman said: "Oswestry Visitor & Exhibition Centre is currently closed because of Covid-19 measures and will be closed for the remainder of the year for major structural works which are required to ensure the safety of the building.

"The council is reviewing the status of all agreements for the occupation of the building.

"The council has given the current license-holders ample notice of our intentions, the length of notice being far greater than they are actually entitled to under the terms of the licence.

"We hope to retender the license to cater and have told the current licensee that they would be welcome to take part in this process."