Big le­gal bill may be end for mu­sic shop

Accrington Observer - - NEWS -

JON MACPHER­SON

AN iconic mu­sic shop could be forced to close down af­ter the owner lost a three-year le­gal bat­tle with the coun­cil.

Jim Bowes, who has run Cus­tard Cube in Ac­cring­ton for 25 years, said he must now pay £28,000 in costs by the end of Novem­ber and un­less the sum is re­duced he will ‘lose ev­ery­thing’.

The 62-year-old lost a civil court case against Hyn­d­burn coun­cil over rent ar­rears dat­ing back to 2010, when Cus­tard Cube was based in the Mar­ket Hall.

But Hyn­d­burn Coun­cil said Mr Bowes had ‘plenty of time and op­por­tu­nity to drop his claim for dam­ages and there­fore avoid such a high bill’.

Jim, who lives in Ac­cring­ton, claims the coun­cil more than dou­bled his monthly rent just months af­ter he agreed to move to a dif­fer­ent area in the mar­ket and af­ter he had in­vested around £20,000 of his life sav­ings creat­ing a be­spoke stall.

Qual­i­fied teacher Jim claimed mar­ket hall bosses failed to tell him that the move was only ‘tem­po­rary’.

He said the ren­tal po­si­tion be­came ‘ un­ten­able’ and in Fe­bru­ary 2010 he was forced to re­lo­cate onto Black­burn Road.

Jim said two years later the coun­cil be­gan re­cov­ery pro­ceed­ings for un­paid rent and he then launched a coun­ter­claim for more than £50,000 in com­pen­sa­tion and dam­ages.

He lost both cases at a hear­ing at Pre­ston Crown Court in De­cem­ber last year and an ap­pli­ca­tion to ap­peal the de­ci­sion was later dis­missed.

Jim said this week he has re­ceived a le­gal bill of £28,000 and fears he will have to close down and sell off his ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of 30,000 CDs and 100,000 vinyl records to help foot the bill.

He told the Ob­server: “I want the coun­cil to be ashamed. I’m 62. I haven’t had a day off for 20 years.

“I’ve put my en­tire life sav­ings into Cus­tard Cube be­cause I be­lieved in the coun­cil.

“I’ve lost my sav­ings, I’ve lost my re­la­tion­ship with my girl­friend, I have lost ev­ery­thing.

“The only thing I have got left is this shop. Be­cause of the present cli­mate in this town I’m just about scratch­ing a liv­ing. I’m on a ba­sic, ba­sic wage.

“Ac­cring­ton doesn’t de­serve to lose this place. It’s the big­gest of its kind in the north of Eng­land. It’s a tourist at­trac­tion and a work of art. I must get at least 20 peo­ple a week pho­tograph­ing it.

“This is my pride and joy. The coun­cil have taken ev­ery­thing away from me which is un­for­giv­able.”

Jim said he is now in con­tact with a debt ad­vi­sor to see if the costs can be re­duced.

The Cus­tard Cube mu­sic shop in Ac­cring­ton is run by Jim Bowes

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