A BUSY convenience store has shut for the second time in two years, leaving hundreds of residents and schoolchildren without a corner shop.
A financial dispute is said to lie behind the sudden closure of Harveys, the only business of its type in the Hounsdown area of Totton.
Several part-time employees could lose their jobs unless the dispute is settled quickly.
The shop has been at the heart of the local community for more than 60 years. Customers include many of the people living between the A35 and the A326, plus students from Hounsdown School.
When Harveys shut in the summer of 2012 trader Paul Harvey blamed competition from supermarkets.
But residents said the store provided a vital service for the large number of people in the neighbourhood who still liked to shop locally. Almost 60 campaigners gathered outside Harveys in a massive show of support.
It subsequently re-opened after being taken over by another shopkeeper – but has now closed again. A notice in the shop window says Mr Harvey has taken possession of the property.
Cllr David Harrison, who represents Totton South, launched a campaign to save the store after its original closure two years ago. He said the latest shutdown followed a dispute between Mr Harvey and the family that had been running the business.
Cllr Harrison added: “The store is very important to the residents of Hounsdown. The last time it closed a lot of people backed my campaign to find a new shopkeeper and the publicity no doubt helped in finding someone prepared to take it on.
"I can only hope that this dispute is resolved quickly. I’m quite prepared to help mediate if asked.
“No one wins in a situation like this.”
Mr Harvey was not available for comment.