FARMFOODS in Inverkeithing is set to close next month, the Press has learned.

Staff have told customers that the lease on the High Street store is due to run out on November 11 and the new owners of the premises are no longer willing to rent it out for retail space.

However, Farmfoods were unwilling to confirm the status of the shop when the Press invited them to comment.

The news comes as a shock for many residents who rely on the store for shopping.

With a lack of empty buildings in Inverkeithing, it's feared that Farmfoods will be lost from the town forever.

Concerned customer John Lloyd said: "This place is not just a shop, it's a community hub.

"We only have two shops in Inverkeithing so this is going to have a big impact on the town.

"Inverkeithing is a poorer area and there is a high proportion of elderly and frail people, many of whom don't own a car.

"If this was happening in Dalgety Bay, I don't think it would have much impact because people would be able to drive elsewhere.

"I found in my five years there that the staff in Farmfoods are chatty and you know for some people that is the only conversation they are going to have all day.

"The staff are not sure what they are going to do either.

"We do have Scotmid but that has been closed for a few months and it's not exactly cheap."

Farmfoods has been on the High Street in Inverkeithing for at least 20 years.

The shop space is reserved for a retail unit only under Fife Council planning conditions.

Councillor Alice McGarry believes the owner of the building would struggle to change the conditions when officers see there is a demand for a food store in the area.

She said: "This is dreadful for the town.

"I have been in touch with the economic development manager at the council, who has reported back that there is not a lot they can do but will speak to the owner to see if this is the reason they are getting rid of Farmfoods.

"Farmfoods is so well-valued, it really is a lifeline for those who cannot afford other shops.

"I don't know what the owners will do as it's unlikely that the council will accept a change to a class 1 retail unit if there is demand.

"It's a relatively busy shop so it's sad for the town."

Helen Doig, chair of Inverkeithing Community Council, added: "It's absolutely devastating for Inverkeithing.

"I would say Farmfoods is the most used shop in the town.

"It just seems out of the blue.

"I fear that there will be no other place for them to go.

"There are lots of small shops but Farmfoods has very competitive prices and the only other place, Scotmid, is not the cheapest.

"There are regular customers who rely on it if they haven't got a car but I can't see them getting another building."