A popular music shop in Marlow Bottom is being forced to close down and relocate after its rent allegedly went up by 75 per cent.

Westmount Music, in Brucewood Parade, will move its shop to the Rose Business Estate after owner Paul Coombes claims his rent was pushed up from £850 a month to more than £1,400 after a “rent review clause” was triggered in the shop’s contract.

Mr Coombes said he fought the rise for around 10 months, eventually agreeing to a 15 per cent increase until the end of the agreement.

He said: “We wanted to avoid arbitration, which potentially could have meant the end of our business.

“We were advised that due to the circumstances of open market rent and the fact we only had 20 months left on the lease, with no right of renewal – as we were omitted from Landlord and Tenants Act – a nil increase was in our favour.

“Due to the stress and anxiety caused by the whole process, and our landlord’s relentless pursuit for a massive rent increase despite our seven-year tenure, it has made our position untenable, so we have made the difficult decision to close our doors at the shop and move on.”

The shop will move to the Rose Business Estate, which houses the shop’s tutoring studio and storage.

The premises will be converted into a combined showroom and tutoring space, which Mr Coombes said will change his business plan and the shop “as it was will effectively end”.

It comes after a number of shops in Marlow were forced to close or relocate due to rising rents, including fast-food eatery Wimpy, which closed its doors at the end of last year, pop-up Italian food shop Bella Italia and Turners, whose owner David Turner was forced to move his shop off the High Street on to Station Road.

Mr Coombes is now worried that rising rents will turn Marlow and Marlow Bottom into “ghost towns, except for the high-end restaurants and clothes shops that can afford to keep paying the high town centre rents”.

He added: “We’ve suffered the same fate as a lot of high street shops, especially in Marlow and High Wycombe, with respect to big rent and rates increases.

“We are a small family business and a local community shop being forced to close and change direction due to this.

“Unfortunately though, the increased rents and rates everywhere are only serving to kill off retail and it is a story that is prevalent everywhere.

“While it is not exclusive to us, it has really affected us as a small family business.

“We do a lot with schools and charities, and charity events. We support the local community with their musical needs.

“A lot of people are disappointed and upset that we are having to close the shop and relocate.

“We are being forced to change our business. For the landlords to do what they are doing is greedy.”

The shop’s landlords have not yet responded to the Marlow Free Press’ request for comment.

The unit has now been listed to let for £16,000 per year.