A BAKERY has closed its doors less than a year after it opened blaming the state of trade on the high street.

Warrens Bakery, based in Southend high street, closed on Friday.

Franchisee, Michael Dunk, firmly pointed the finger at problems on the high street.

He said he hoped they would open the bakery again elsewhere - insisting anywhere but the high street will do.

Southend Council said it was disappointed the firm had closed but said the high street is not an “issue that can be fixed overnight”.

It added the situation is still similar to when the bakery opened in November last year.

Mr Dunk said: “With a heavy heart, we will be closing our Southend store.

“We have been overwhelmed with the welcome we have had from our opening in November of last year, but sadly, due to our location on this high street in Southend we ultimately have not seen the sales uplift we need to continue operating.

“Priority for us in this decision is ensuring our staff have been treated fairly: we have actively supported them in finding new roles and will be paying them until the end of the month, despite the store being closed.”

The news comes at the same time as the Toma Project Space, running out of the Royals Shopping, announced its plan to close on Saturday.

Toma - a not for profit, artist-led project - will close its doors after seven months due to unaffordable business rates.

Arts Council England has supported the Toma Project Space as part of a grants for arts bid awarded to founder Emma Edmondson.

She said: “We have really enjoyed working alongside the local business and creative community setting up another much desired and needed contemporary art space in Southend.

"Putting creative ideas and people within meanwhile spaces can help to bring more people into Southend, cater for the community as well as animate unused spaces bringing life back to a high street that has seen a lot of businesses close.”