A caterer who received a grant of almost £25,000 from the government’s Future High Street Fund for Trowbridge is planning to rebrand his business following a dramatic drop in trade.

JC’s Kitchen was awarded a £24,995 grant in March via Wiltshire Council, which administers the £16.3 million fund to help regenerate Trowbridge town centre.

The grant enabled business partners Elaine and Ron De La Cruz to make and sell a fusion of British and Filipino food from a kiosk in the Castle Place shopping centre.

But Mr De La Cruz said JC’s Kitchen had been hit by the soaring cost of stock and a dramatic drop in shoppers visiting Castle Place following the loss of key stores Wilko and Shaws the Draper.

“The JC’s menu that we are well known for isn’t really working," he said. "We did an event a few weeks ago and the cost of stock has literally doubled from what it was a couple of years ago.

“We are going to be doing hot dogs and are planning to rebrand as Bathwurst, like bratwurst, but using the Bath name.”

The couple, both aged 47, who live in Hilperton, also run a JC’s Kitchen outlet at the Green Park Station in Bath.

They have recently invested £8,000-£10,000 in setting up a new Bula Bula Bubble Tea and Lounge Bar business in one of the micro-shop units at The Shires shopping centre in Trowbridge.

Wiltshire Times: Ron and Elaine De La Cruz also run the Bula Bula Bubble Tea and Lounge Bar in The Shires shopping centre. Photo: Trevor Porter 69968-2Ron and Elaine De La Cruz also run the Bula Bula Bubble Tea and Lounge Bar in The Shires shopping centre. Photo: Trevor Porter 69968-2 (Image: Trevor Porter)

Mr De La Cruz said that when work started on Trowbridge Town Hall and the Market Street bus stop was moved, JC’s Kitchen trade dropped dramatically.

“We were kind of steady and then the town hall work started, so we lost the bus stop and that affected us massively.

“And then to top it off, Wilko shut and that was even more difficult because there is no footfall there anymore.”

Wiltshire Council leader Richard Clewer said: “We are extremely saddened to hear of the closure of JC’s Kitchen. We understand this is temporary while the owners explore different options available to them.

“We appreciate this is a very challenging time for the owners and we will keep in close contact with them.”

JC’s Kitchen was awarded the grant under the Vacant Commercial Units Fund scheme, one of the schemes funded through the Future High Streets Fund.

The council said no further action is being taken until the owners confirm in writing their next steps but it has a grant agreement in place with all those awarded funds and retains rights to clawback under certain circumstances.

It added: “In awarding all grants, the council has made best efforts to balance the need to provide funds to businesses with a track record and financial stability alongside providing opportunities to new market entrants.

“This effort to diversify the offering in Trowbridge lies at the heart of the Future High Streets Fund vision. The grant is not provided by Wiltshire Council funds, but the significant investment awarded to Trowbridge as part of the government’s Future High Streets Funding.”

Wiltshire Council has spent £8.15m of the £16.3m in funding on the redevelopment of Trowbridge Town Hall.

An undisclosed amount has been spent on making improvements to roads and pavement in Trowbridge town centre.

A further amount was set aside in the Vacant Commercial Units Fund to enable local businesses to breathe new life into the town centre and improve its evening economy.

Some businesses have used the funds to move into empty shops and offices and others to convert vacant space into new homes.