The owners of the cafe building near Helston from which the licensees are relocating have responded to claims made about them.

It is after the owners of Slice of Cornwall, which had been based at The Homestead Woodland Garden just past Wendron, said they had decided to relocate, adding: "Unfortunately we were paying a rent that was too high for the business to be sustainable at the location."

Now Shirley Williams and Chris Tredinnick have said: "As owners of The Homestead Woodland Garden, we have chosen to make a statement responding to negative comments which appeared in response to online reports on the Packet website and elsewhere. The statements that 'Slice' were paying an unaffordable rent is untrue and misleading.

"In 2014 Slice were offered the opportunity of running their business from a purpose built tearoom within the garden and grounds of our home. They were licensees (a different status from that of a tenant paying rent). Their payment was an agreed licence fee based on a percentage of their turnover, minus VAT.

"This was an ideal arrangement for the licensees when they were starting their business. They had the reassurance that, if it didn’t work out, they would not be committed to a lease with a fixed rent, a fixed term and a full repairing obligation.

"We were in negotiation prior to Covid-19 and lockdown as the licensees asked for extra space for use as office and retail, in addition to a reduction in the licence fee.

"We declined to agree the reduction, but had already looked into the legal requirements for adding the extra space required. However, Slice made a decision to walk away.

"Slice have had five very successful years at The Homestead and could have continued to trade there for many more. For them and some who have commented to be blaming us for their decision to cease trading at The Homestead Woodland Garden is very unfair.

"We have improved the building and surroundings for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone and have just received the go-ahead from Cornwall Council to create a nature trail with user-friendly paths to enable safer access for everyone to enjoy the grounds. We have also been working with a local garden designer to make changes to the garden.

"We would be delighted to see the facility open up again, maybe as a tearoom and/or a venue for events, so if there is a chef or manager/ess out there that would like the opportunity to show off their skills and use the tearoom as a stepping stone into the hospitality business, without the commitments of a lease, then please get in touch."