A HOSPICE has scrapped its plans to open a new shop in Bromsgrove after a dispute about the lease.

Primrose Hospice and Family Support Centre will no longer move into 97 High Street after receiving 'hurtful comments' via social media about the plan.

The charity was hit by a backlash when the current occupier, Healing Horse Sanctuary, said it was facing having to leave the shop just weeks after moving in.

The sanctuary, which delivers services across Worcestershire and the wider Midlands, revealed last week that it had been served a 28-day eviction notice after only two weeks of opening 'Gifts of Love' which was supposed to act as a fundraising shop to support its horses in Burcot. 

The Healing Horse Sanctuary believed it had been given the shop for free for three years as a charity let, but it did not realise that a 'break clause' in the contract allowed the landlord to terminate the lease with 28 days' notice and that the shop could still be advertised. 

Dudley News: The Healing Horse Sanctuary were served an eviction notice for 'Gifts of Love' The Healing Horse Sanctuary were served an eviction notice for 'Gifts of Love' (Image: Susie Gessey)

Founder of the Healing Horse Sanctuary, Susie Gessey, aged 55, said: "I was devastated and just burst into tears. I was in so much shock as we had this shop to help raise money for the sanctuary.

"We had plans for craft workshops and meditation sessions. We put all our eggs in one basket and it's been such a blow." 

Primrose Hospice announced on social media that they were the other charity pursuing the lease but that they had "asked the letting agent to inform their tenant of advanced negotiations with us 6 weeks before their shop opened." 

The charity has received many hurtful comments on social media following the announcement and has now scrapped plans to move into the shop. 

In a statement on Facebook, a spokesperson for Primrose Hospice said: "Everyone at Primrose Hospice and Family Support Centre is both heartbroken and devastated by recent unwarranted negativity towards us impacting our ability to serve our patients and families.

"Due to this treatment and the fact we have not yet signed the lease, we have made the difficult decision not to proceed with a new shop in Bromsgrove. We have always acted with honesty and integrity, and recently had a positive meeting with the Healing Horse Sanctuary and remain in touch.

"We'd like to clear the air by stating that Primrose Hospice simply engaged with an agent who was actively promoting a shop on Bromsgrove High Street to us, and also to other businesses and charities. We do very much regret the distress this caused the Healing Horse Sanctuary." 

Dudley News: The charity remain focused on the horses The charity remain focused on the horses (Image: Susie Gessey)

Despite the change of heart, Healing Horse Sanctuary said it is still leaving the shop and the last day of trading will be on Saturday, March 9.

The charity has expressed its appreciation for Primrose Hospice and thanked all of its supporters for the donations which have totalled more than £10,000 and helped secure the sanctuary's future for the next three months. 

The Healing Horse Sanctuary said: "We want to thank each and every one of you who have helped us over the last 7 days. 

"We have so much to do and sort out but we have accepted the situation and are moving on without anger towards anyone involved.

"It saddens us that Primrose has received hateful comments. They are a hospice and offer valuable help in the Bromsgrove community and we send them love."

Ms Gessey added that the charity remains focused on its horses with the possibility of finding a new shop to support the sanctuary in the future. 

To donate to the Healing Horse Sanctuary fundraiser visit www.justgiving.com/page/susie-gessey-1708618438665

To sponsor a horse visit www.thehealinghorsesanctuary.org.uk/become-a-sponsor/