The Hideout Jersey’s owner Karl Sutton was very upbeat as Sportscast Jersey caught up with him the morning after the end of months of uncertainty ended with a positive result for Sutton and his Hideout team at the Racquete Assembly. The Hideout is staying open, and so it should!
Daniel Andrade caught up with Sutton about why he created The Hideout, how the past few months have been and how much he appreciates the support from the people of Jersey over the last week.
Here is what he had to say:
Do you remember first opening – what gave you the idea?
Yes! Back in the end of 2016 I approached the Parish Hall about the potential of putting a catering trailer on the slip at La Pulente in the car park. It was an unused area and there was a high demand for something like the Hideout so I decided to take a risk on it and put planning in and it got passed. It took a few years to get it running properly but it has worked ever since.
Where did the name come from?
I actually wrote a load down. Mr Jackson kept calling it ‘The Hideaway’ last night, that was one of the names that was on the list! The Lookout, The Hideout – because part of the planning conditions was that it would have to blend in to the surroundings. The Hideout just jumped out from the 10 different names.
It has grown ever since – are you happy about how it has gone?
Like any business, the first two years are tough. We have been there in December when it is raining and the whole place is rocking because of the wind but I feel it is very important to be consistent and be open every single day. We are closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day depending on what the staff want to do but I think there are a lot of places over here who complain about not doing so well but then they will be closed on Bank Holidays and Sundays – I have never really understood that. If you want to do well, you need to be open every day and need to be consistent. We enjoy it and love seeing the customers.
How hard was it to hear that you may be forced to close?
It was extremely hard, especially because I had approached the Constable and Procureurs at the Parish Hall late June and said my renewable permit is coming up, I would like to have it renewed like I have done in the past – giving plenty of notice too. They assured me I had nothing to worry about. After that, though, I seemed to not get straight answers from emails. I knew something was up and had heard a load of rumours which was disappointing to hear third hand. I kept pressing and pressing and then I felt like my time was running out, I needed to know as the permit needed to be renewed as there was only four weeks left. Then, last thing on a Friday I received a letter saying that they weren’t going to renew the permit and they had no good reason. Again I pressed and pressed, never got a straight answer. I asked to meet them numerous times, again didn’t get an answer. That is when I was forced to call the Raquete just to meet them and to be heard.
How good was it to see the support for The Hideout on social media and beyond?
I am very aware that we have a great following, I am not saying we are perfect, nobody is. When I put the petition out I had no idea we would have that many people following us and supporting us from people of all ages. Even people last night, who admitted to me that they turned up to vote against us but after they voted in our favour because it simply wasn’t fair. It was great to see the support.
Tell us about last night. How did it go?
It went very well. I think it was very fair and all the facts came out which is all I ever wanted. Our planning was approved four years ago with the development in mind. I have never, ever been in the way. I have always offered to work alongside the developer. I have offered to move, to adjust. I don’t want to be a ‘noisy neighbour’. I tried ringing the developer a few times, but never got an answer. It was good to have the opportunity to put the truth across. They keep saying that they have an end date of next summer, but they have no idea of when they are going to start. The reality of it is they have no mains water, no trial holes, they have not done an asbestos survey and they haven’t submitted for any by-laws. They have no idea about the engineering work as they haven’t carried out any investigative work. That was my main point, that they admitted that they have no idea when they are going to officially start. Saying all this, as I said last night I don’t want to be dragged into the ins and outs of the development. I want them to build it and I encourage them to build it. It will be great for the area. However, they seem to have spent more time getting me away than they have on the actual development.
How relieved were you that The Hideout can stay open?
I have always been confident in getting the result because what right is right. I was very relieved though. Towards the end of last night I thought it was trying to get wrapped up early, with no clear result so that is when i stopped Mr Jackson and asked for a clear result. I am very relieved it went how it did and he has agreed that we stay where we are until they start the actual demolition work because of health and safety. I am going to put plans in to move to the slip when that does happen, which again wasn’t part of the original agreement and I have added that on, being a friendly neighbour. If you say I am in your way, I will get completely out of your way, but if they are to do the development, I expect to go back where I was.
Finally, do you have a message to the people of St Brelade and Jersey for their support?
I am extremely grateful for everyone’s support. I am extremely grateful for everyone who turned up last night and really sorry for the people who couldn’t get in because of the restricted numbers. I appreciate everyone’s time and effort. The support we have had is amazing and I am so lucky to have such loyal customers. Thank-you.
It is safe to say you can sense the happiness from Karl that The Hideout can stay open and it is largely down to you, the Jersey public, and the support shown to Karl and all of the fantastic team at The Hideout.
Be sure to give them a visit in the near future, you will not regret it!