THE brothers who run Starlight Stores have warned Downley residents they will be forced to close if business does not pick up.

Serdal and Bulent Kuran have taken the drastic step to place a “use us or lose us” sign outside the High Street shop they have run for five years.

The brothers say high business rates, the loss of its National Lottery machine and people deciding to shop at the big-name chains instead of their local shop has put them under severe pressure.

Bulent Kuran, pictured, said: “We are struggling; we put the sign out there a couple of months ago and if things continue the way they are then we will have to seriously consider moving on.

“There are a whole range of reasons for why we’re in this position, the council aren’t helping us – I think we pay the highest business rates in the village and we were forced to take our shutters down.

“People are shopping in the big supermarkets, even if we are cheaper. We sell a lot of items, probably more than the Tesco Express, but they have the big name and have advertising everywhere.

“I believe the local shop is important in a community, I only use local shops and will continue to do so even if we close, because I think it’s important to support shops that belong to the community.”

Resident Philippa Brewer said it would be a “loss to the village”.

She added: “It is great for everyone in the community, but for older people really it is the only place to get healthy interesting food nearby.”

In a statement, Wycombe District Council said it "actively supports the growth and development of all local businesses" and hoped villagers would support Starlight Stores.