The owners of a tea room in Lincoln were left horrified by a break-in and nearly decided to close, but the support and kindness from their customers is helping them to carry on.

Lady Rose’s Edwardian Tea Room on Free School Lane was broken into at around 8.30pm on Tuesday, October 27.

The door pane was smashed in with glass everywhere, and vintage china cups and glassware damaged. The till containing £90 was taken and the overall cost of the damage done was around £500.

Alan Rhodes, 37, from Allness Close in Lincoln has been charged with an offence of burglary. He has been bailed to appear at Lincoln Magistrates Court on January 21, 2021.

Husband and wife Chris and Nicki Fairey, opened the tea room at the Assembly Rooms five years ago before moving to their current premises on Free School Lane 12 months later.

They were forced to cancel their bookings for Wednesday before reopening on Thursday.

Chris told The Lincolnite: “I got a text from a customer who saw it on their way to work the following morning (Wednesday).

“We were absolutely horrified. We live 12 miles out of Lincoln so were preparing to come to work with a sense of panic as to what state it was in, how much they’d damaged and what was taken.

“What really upset us most of all is we were fully booked for the first time and people were travelling from a fair distance for celebrations and we had to cancel the bookings due to awaiting repairs and with cleaning up to do, there was glass everywhere.”

Coronavirus has had a big impact on the business and the threat of closure remains. Measures are in place, including amended opening times and a bookings only system.

The couple also saw their application for funding from the Arts Council declined due to being a partnership and not a limited company, despite putting on entertainment such as musical events and poetry readings.

The kindness of customers and supporters has helped them through the pandemic. Their friends Jade and Dan Hadfield, set up a GoFundMe page after the incident and have so far raised over £800.

A 16-year-old girl who works doing the dishes for the tea room on Saturdays was keen to help clear up the damage and came in especially on Wednesday to support the owners.

Chris added: “Yesterday (Wednesday) we felt like throwing the towel in, but the kindness, love, support and encouragement we have received helps us to keep going.

“COVID-19 is ruining us. We’ve just about managed to break even since March, meeting the costs but we have not been able to reinvest or pay ourselves in that time.

“The support will help us going a bit longer and has persuaded us to carry on, but the threat of closure is still there. We love our customers to bits, they are not just customers, but friends and family.

“We don’t want to let them down, but my health is deteriorating and we can’t sustain things under these conditions forever, so this is continually under review.”

Meanwhile, the Christmas Carol event that runs every Sunday afternoon from the end of November until Christmas will still go ahead as planned.

A developer’s plan for apartments on the site of a former motorcycle shop in Lincoln is up for approval next Wednesday.

City of Lincoln Council’s planning committee will be asked to grant Carholme Developments application to build 14 self-contained apartments with 14 associated parking spaces on the site of Jack Machin Motorcycles, which closed in summer 2019 and has since been demolished.

In May, the council rejected previous plans by JMF Chartered Architects to build five three-storey blocks on the site for a total of 15 residential apartments.

Councillors said the development would cause harm to the area “by reason of the height, massing and design of the building” and that it sat too far forward.

The new proposals include a three-storey L-shaped building running parallel with Carholme Road and Derwint Street which will “step-down” to two-storeys at the boundaries with its neighbours.

In a report to councillors, officers said: “The application proposal has been carefully considered and revised taking account of the previous refusal and taking account of the input of ward members and comments from neighbours in respect of the design changes.

“The design is of a high quality and would deliver 14 new apartments in this important location without causing harm to amenity.”

The Immigration Minister, the Shadow Home Secretary and Donald Trump’s former adviser will be on Question Time when it virtually comes to Lincoln on Thursday night.

The BBC’s political panel show will air on October 29 at 10.45pm on BBC One, and will feature public questions from Lincoln residents.

Joining host Fiona Bruce will be Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South and minister for immigration compliance and courts, and Labour’s shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds.

The full panel for Question Time this week. | Photo: BBC Question Time

Also on the panel will be Marie van der Zyl of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, British-American writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, and former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.

Notably missing from the announced panel is Serco CEO Rupert Soames, who was scheduled to appear after an announcement via BBC Question Time’s Twitter account earlier this week.

Questions for all panel members will come from a virtual audience of people from Lincoln.

Representatives of both the Labour and Conservative parties will be on the panel to field questions about COVID-19 response and policy from the residents of Lincoln.

Topics will likely include the upcoming American presidential election, migration across the English Channel, anti-semitism within political parties, and coronavirus.

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