ANOTHER independent Salisbury business is closing its doors, blaming high rents, business rates and car parking charges.

La Mollina tapas restaurant on the Market Place will be closing on September 21 when the current lease runs out.

In a letter to customers, owner Steve Dauwalder said: “We are unable to negotiate a sensible ongoing rent for the premises. On top of this, like other businesses, we are faced with large increases each year on business rates.”

Mr Dauwalder said the high parking charges, upped to £7.40 a day by Wiltshire Council in 2011, have also contributed to his and wife Ali’s decision. “Wiltshire Council has recently recognised that they may have an impact on trade in our city, but its timetable for investigating and reviewing this is too long for us.”

The restaurant has been a feature in Salisbury’s central square for six years and Mr Dauwalder has often spoken out about the problems facing independent businesses in the city in recent years.

Last year he told the Journal the increased parking charges had seen footfall drop considerably over the previous two years. A massive fire at the Market Inn and the following refurbishment, and the decision to carry out the refurbishment of the Market Place throughout the summer, which then overran, have also affected his trade.

He said: “Our decision to close is not without great consideration. We have built up a lot of meaningful friendships and great rapport with customers during this time. We would like to thank all of our customers for their loyalty over the years, it’s greatly appreciated.”

After it closes on September 21, La Mollina will continue as a catering company at outside events, festivals, street markets and private functions.