A WOMAN who set up her dream street business in Taunton town centre fears she may have to pull the plug barely a week after starting trading.

Charlotte Smart has seen few customers at her pop-up food takeaway as it was moved from a prime spot to a quieter location without warning.

If things don't improve, Charlotte will cease trading in the town as she is currently losing money.

She and her husband, Leighton, discovered two days before launching the Gourmet Salad Box in the town on Wednesday last week that they would no longer be able to set up at the pitch promised by the council.

"We'd been accepted for a pitch next to the Market House," said Leighton.

"But last week we went to check up, only to discover that the pitch wasn't available because there was no power supply as there'd been a fire a couple of months ago.

"It was so frustrating. Nobody had told us. We contacted the council, who had given us an alternative pitch outside Iceland in High Street.

"You can't see us looking up High Street and nobody goes that far. People don't go past the Orchard Shopping Centre.

"We're not getting the footfall we were hoping for.

"It's costing my wife more money making the food than what she's taking.

"If we keep trading in a negative position, we're going to have to stop."

Leighton added that Charlotte had been dreaming of the venture for a number of years and took out a government loan to get started.

Gourmet Salad Box operates from a converted horsebox, with Charlotte serving up homemade vegetarian, vegan and gluten free salads, sides and cakes.

She is in the town centre from Tuesdays to Saturdays and runs a delivery service on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Leighton added: "She was devastated last week."

Cllr Marcus Kravis, executive member for economic development at Somerset West and Taunton Council, which hires out the pitches, said the authority had worked with the Smarts to find a temporary pitch after the electricity supply at the Market House was damaged.

He added: "The damage to the electrics was significant, but we are hoping to repair it as quickly as possible and quotations are currently with our insurers.

"We did explore the option of a temporary electricity supply to support this trader in their usual location but were advised that this was not a suitable solution due to public safety.

"We are continuing to investigate other options but they must be safe and compliant.

"We reviewed all the available spaces for street traders in the town centre and offered the only pitch available.

"The council has been in frequent contact with the trader and visited on their first day of trading from the temporary pitch.

"We are keeping them updated on the electrical repairs and as soon as the work is complete the trader can return to their normal pitch.

"We would stress that this is an unprecedented situation with the combination of Covid-19 restrictions, ongoing concerns over finances for many traders and the unfortunate fire at the Market House.

"We very much hope they will find the extra support they need in the interim to keep this valued business afloat."