A fruit and veg seller whose family have been trading in Hounslow High Street for 30 years has been refused a new pitch, despite warning the decision could cost her her home.
Claire Lewis took over her grandfather's stall 18 years ago and had been a familiar face on the shopping parade ever since.
She grudgingly gave up her old spot in an alleyway known as Smithy Lane, just off the middle of the high street, last year to become part of the new world food market at the other end of the shopping parade.
When that closed just before Christmas , she asked to return to her old site but her application was rejected last Tuesday (February 4) by Hounslow Council's licensing panel.
They ruled the location was unsuitable because the stall might disrupt the planned regeneration of the high street and the lack of water and electricity supplies to allow handwashing was a potential health hazard.
Presenting her case, Ms Lewis had told the panel she had no other livelihood and without a pitch she was in danger of losing her home.
Licensing panel chairman Councillor Matt Harmer told her it was members' 'deep regret' it had not been possible to grant a licence. He said the council did not wish to see her deprived of her livelihood and efforts would be made to help her find an alternative site.
One of Ms Lewis' former regular customers, Simon Eaton Walker, told the Chronicle he was 'appalled' by the way she had been treated.
"The council gave her a few weeks' notice to move to the new market place, cut her trading days and when the market turned sour gave her notice it was closing 10 days before Christmas," said the 51-year-old, of Isleworth.
"This is her livelihood and she has a family to feed. I'm appalled by how the council is treating these market traders so badly."
In December last year, jacket potato sellers Natalie and Robert Bunn became the first street traders to be awarded a new pitch on the high street since the world food market opened in April last year.