Pateley Bridge business closes up early to prevent cost of living losses

Toft Gate Barn will be temporarily closed this winter as its owners guard against the frightening impact of rising energy costs and the cost of living crisis.
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With energy bills already soaring, the tourism season well and truly finished, and residents struggling themselves to make ends meet, the option to shut up shop for the next five months is a difficult but sensible one to take.

Set in amongst the beautiful landscape of Greenhow Hill, Toft Gate Barn pitches itself as a home cooked quality produce Cafe and farm house bistro.

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A working farm, it is impossible not to be lured by its obvious charm and effortless appeal. Though the location could be considered tricky and a bit far out for the natural hustle or bustle of everyday customers, it has found an admirable following since it opened in 2016.

Chris Prince the Chairman of the Nidderdale Show, pictured with his wife Caroline at Toft Gate Barn Cafe, Greenhow.Chris Prince the Chairman of the Nidderdale Show, pictured with his wife Caroline at Toft Gate Barn Cafe, Greenhow.
Chris Prince the Chairman of the Nidderdale Show, pictured with his wife Caroline at Toft Gate Barn Cafe, Greenhow.

Popular with walkers overlooking awe-inspiring vistas, Toft Gate Barn nestles just outside Pateley Bridge at Cold Stones cut. A successful and lucrative business, the bistro is much loved by locals holding an impressive record of shining reviews.

Given all of this, It’s hard to understand why they might be under threat of closing for the foreseeable future, however, owner Caroline and Chris Prince explained her concerns for the future of Toft Gate under crushing overheads.

“After eight years working to build the business up, it feels disillusioning, like battling with all directions, it’s an uphill struggle for everyone,” she said. “We hope to install solar panels, and open a farm shop before re-opening but as the road is closing we are unsure of the future of the business”

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"I don’t know how other businesses are affording to survive under these pressures. We are aiming to close before we lose income as six months is not long enough to plan for the future of our business.”

Positivity was felt by most post COVID. After many renovated interiors during lockdown, sales recuperated and the summer was profitable. People were flooding out, exploring Nidderdale and business was highly bankable for the whole area.

It is notable to account the number of commercial properties for sale on Pateley Bridge high street, with an astonishing five listed with agencies, a further two laying empty and another due for transformation, adapting to a new strategy.

Coun Andrew Murday, Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale said: “It is expected that our businesses experience some ‘churn’ time, particularly this time of year as Pateley economy vastly relies on tourism.

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“It is evident that locals and tradesmen are experiencing trepidation about the current climate with many businesses temporarily closing in anticipation of substantial losses.”

“Everyone within the area wants to support the high street, it is important that we keep shops open and commercial property from being empty".

Speaking about what both localised and centralised governments can do to help trade headed: "The council and the chamber of trade can really bring on local events to provide impetus for trade, the kind the rural economy needs."

"We are in discussions on how to move forward because there are things we can do to hugely support the high street and surrounding trade, and it's exactly what we'll be looking to do"