Bosses at a food bank fear the vital service may be forced to close if the council decides to triple its rent.

The Cherwell Larder, based in Kidlington, north of Oxford, has claimed prices are not sustainable for a community group and that tactics used by the parish council are "very dishonest".

As it stands, the food larder will have its rent increased from £360 to £1,005 a week for use of Exeter Hall.

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A spokeswoman for Kidlington Parish Council said the price increase is simply due to a change in policy meaning the procedure for applying for a discount has become formalised.

The 'increase' is described as simply the standard rate, and this is expected to be reduced.

Oxford Mail: Exeter Hall.Exeter Hall. (Image: Hailey Larson.)

But founder and managing director of the Cherwell Larder, Dr Emily Connally, said: "There is no assurance that we will receive a discount.

"In the past we have never had to apply for a grant.

"What they do is overprice their service and then provide us with cuts like an imaginary discount.

"It's a weird pattern of them trying to intimidate us when we're basically the only income they have."

The Cherwell Larder is a "non-means-tested" business which provides food and essentials to the local community.

Ms Connally went on to say the hall was "empty all the time" because the council had "priced it so high".

She stated: "We're the only reason anyone really comes here.

"Their prices are too high and there's no demand for bookings at that rate.

"We're not advised to overpay as a non-profit organisation."

Oxford Mail: Ms Connally with her son at Christmas.Ms Connally with her son at Christmas. (Image: Cherwell Larder.)

Kidlington Parish Council has responded to the concerns.

Council clerk, Rachel Faulkner, said: "I'm a surprised to have heard about this really.

"We support the charity and we always have.

"The grant application is simply making the process more formal for transparency."

Responding to claims the hall has a lack of bookings due to it being overpriced, Ms Faulkner said: "That is absolutely not the case and if anything the opposite is true.

"We have had to turn down an enormous amount of bookings but are very happy to continue to have the larder."

Maurice Billington, Conservative district councillor for the Kidlington East ward, added: "If the rent is put up I would be concerned because the larder does a good job for the community."

Oxford Mail: Maurice Billington.Maurice Billington. (Image: Cherwell District Council.)

The larder was established in 2020.

Ms Connally concluded: "We need to build a circular economy to build climate resilience and people need support with the cost of living crisis."