YORK'S Spurriergate Centre has closed suddenly with the loss of 20 jobs, after trade was badly hit by the extreme weather and by growing competition.

The company running the restaurant, cafe and fair-trade shop, situated in a former church dating back to the 12th Century, has gone into liquidation.

A sign on the door of the Christian centre in Spurriergate says that 'with considerable regret and sadness,' St Michael's York Trust has decided that Spurriergate Trading Company must cease.

"The company is now being liquidated," it said.

"The Trustees would like to thank all present and former staff and volunteers, customers and supporters for all they have done to make Spurriergate a success for so long.

"We have served people locally and consistently for nearly 30 years."

It said the development did not affect other services provided by the trust and host organisations, which would continue.

"These activities include the counselling service, International Cafe, Global Church, and meals provided on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings for homeless people."

It said well publicised economic difficulties in town centres, and spells of extreme weather in 2018, amongst other things, had reduced its level of custom significantly and made the service unsustainable.

"The directors and management have done everything possible to mitigate the situation and reduce our costs, but this has not been sufficiently successful."

Truist chair Richard Staples told The Press that about 20 full and part time employees had lost their jobs.

He said business had been badly hit by both the cold weather when the 'Beast from the East' struck last winter, which reduced footfall, and by this summer's hot weather, which discouraged people from going into indoor cafes.

He also said the centre opened almost 30 years ago when there were relatively few other cafes and there was now huge competition from many other cafes.

He stressed that the church would continue to be used and the trustees would meet later this month to discuss ways of increasing its usage, and would be happy to listen to people's ideas and suggestions.

The closure has surprised and saddened many York residents.

One person tweeted: "This is so sad. This place always felt like such a hidden corner of respite,' while another tweeted: "Oh no - this was always a great unique place to stop for a rest and an excellent lunch in amongst the madness of the city centre on a Saturday. Hope someone is able to do something similar with the lovely staff and volunteers there."