A SHOP owner said he has had two breakdowns and is considering “moving to Spain” because he can no longer afford to run his business in Bournemouth and Poole.

Chris Kettle is the managing director of Happy Buddha in and he closed his store in Boscombe last year and said some days he was only making £30.

He said he can’t afford the business rates and rent, is refusing to pay anymore due to the lack of support the council have given him and is going to have to close his two remaining stores.

Mr Kettle said: “It’s ridiculous. We have come to the end of the road. I have gone four years developing this company.

“We are one month behind on our business rates, and I have now gone without a salary for the last three years which is not acceptable.”

Mr Kettle was told by the council that he was entitled to three months relief on his business rates from when his shops closed, per the legislation.

However, if he couldn’t give up the lease for the shops after that he would be liable to continue paying.

“It is sad and unacceptable that I am in a position where I am better off on benefits than working seven days a week,” he said.

“(The council) simply do not care and are not sorry that we are in this position. I am willing to go bankrupt to terminate the leases.

“I am looking at going to a warehouse and selling online. Poole is a ghost town. I am paying more rates than rent.

“(The council) closed off the high street and my customers didn’t have access to my shop for three weeks.

“I am half-tempted to close both shops and move to Spain. I started this company as a market stall. I am thinking of going down that route again, just employing myself.”

Mr Kettle runs the stores with his sister and employs eleven people.

He added: “It is a family business, me and my sister. She has had to deal with everything. I have had two breakdowns at work, she is concerned for my mental health.

“This is appalling now. I was taking £30 a week. That doesn’t even cover the wage costs.”

Leader of BCP Council, Cllr Vikki Slade, said: “We sympathise with the owner of the Happy Buddha and recognise that many retailers are struggling with the current challenging environment on the high street.

“I know that some people feel the council should be offering discounts on business rates to those businesses that are struggling in this way. However, any action in this respect would inevitably have an impact on council tax levels, our commitments to elderly care, street lighting, coroner services, children’s social care, highway maintenance and other services.

“As an authority, we are working towards a refreshed vision for town centres. We have already been awarded Heritage Action Zone and Lottery funding which will focus on Poole High Street and the Quay area and are developing plans for regeneration of our town centres that will see them not just survive but thrive into the future.

“In the meantime, we very much support calls for wholesale reform of the business rates model and will continue to work with partners such as the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry to lobby for government action.”