A popular takeaway in the heart of Tranent closed its doors for the final time on Sunday, with owner Dominic McNeill citing a lack of good car parking options in Tranent as a key factor.

The Tower Kitchen, part of the same group as the Tower Inn pub, is owned by the McNeill family and has been in operation for two years on the town’s High Street.

Primarily a takeaway and delivery service, the business served various hot and cold foods, from toasties to fries and burgers.

However, footfall had dropped and the tough decision was made to cease trading.

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Dominic told the Courier: “It hasn’t been an easy decision. But I have seen the issues building up for a while now. I did a comparison recently on our footfall from two years ago compared to now and it is a dramatic fall.

“Our deliveries are done through Just Eat who take 23 per cent of the order fee, which also dramatically impacts profits.

“That coupled with the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy and staff costs has meant it just doesn’t make sense to continue. I need to think of the Tower Inn and put the focus into that now.”

A lease is still in place at the premises for a further three years and the business will continue to run a catering facility for parties and gatherings which can be booked online.

East Lothian Courier: Staff at The Tower Kitchen, Tranent. Pictured left to right staff: Laura McCraig, Veronica Davidson, Lorna McNeill and Tracey AndersonStaff at The Tower Kitchen, Tranent. Pictured left to right staff: Laura McCraig, Veronica Davidson, Lorna McNeill and Tracey Anderson

The business has been forced to release five members of staff, something Mr McNeill described as “gut wrenching”. He said the catering facilities would help cover the building costs.

He said: “It was horrible. We managed to move one staff member to the pub but we’ve had to let others go.

“You never want to have to do that as a boss. But I’d rather do it now than get to pay day and say we have no money to pay them.

“By cutting down on electricity and staff costs we can focus on the catering and that will help manage the building lease costs.”

Mr McNeill, who recently launched a new business association in the town, said he put much of the blame for lack of footfall on limited parking availability in the town.

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He said: “The High Street is a joke and I have been quite vocal about that. The parking situation is unacceptable and we are seeing businesses, including ours, suffering as a result.

“Buildings are lying empty and more needs to be done by East Lothian Council, who have a responsibility for Tranent, to get the parking situation sorted.

“We haven’t fully closed the door on the Kitchen reopening in the future. Maybe if we see improvements on parking in the town next summer it is something we’d consider.

“We’re having productive conversations through the business association. But more must be done.”

Mike Falconer, chair of Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council, added: “I know Dominic has done all he can to keep the business going as long as possible and we are sad to see it close.

“We need to keep fighting for our High Street and revive it. We’re hopeful that parking consultations can move soon and we can get business thriving again.

“We continue to have conversations about improvements and I am confident work will continue.”