A BURGER van owner will lose his livelihood after being told he must leave a car park after 22 years but said he will refuse to go.

Paul Newton was told his lease is not being renewed is being evicted from the Pavilion Retail Park in Brighton just four weeks before Christmas

The 57-year-old, from The Brow, in Woodingdean, said “This is my livelihood. This van is my life. I’ve been here for 22 years serving customers. The news has come as such a shock. How am I going to get a new job before Christmas, how am I going to pay for Christmas now? They told me if I remain here after the first of December I’m trespassing.”

“I’ve always paid my rent on time. This pitch costs me £670 a month. I’ve never been late paying and my van brings business to B&Q and the other shops here. I’ve done what the agency told me for 22 years, now I’m doing it my way, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Mr Newton received a letter informing him that he must take his Better Bites van away immediately as he no longer has consent to trade.

Mr Newton's licence to trade at the car park near Aldi and Halfords expired on November 29.

The Argus understands the landowner of the retail park in Lewes Road is Aviva, who could still change their mind and allow Mr Newton's lease to continue..

Customers are supporting Paul and his wife Sue, 53, who works alongside him.

Holly Roberton, 29, said: “I don’t know what I’ll do if this place closes down. They do the best lunch at the best price. Paul and Sue are here seven days a week come rain or shine, with smiles on their faces and a cup of tea on the go.”

Regular Lee Beeny, 38 from Brighton said “I’m a decorator. I come here all the time to get my lunch and pick up supplies. I don’t want a muffin from Costa. I want a proper hot lunch, and a chat with my mates who I know will be here. If the van leaves, I won’t be coming here anymore, and I know my mates all feel the same way.”

John Walsh, 36 from Brighton said “I think it’s a disgrace that after 22 years Paul’s been moved off. He stuck it out down there when Halfords closed down and all other shops, and now they are kicking him out because it’s getting full again? Paul’s been there since I was a kid, I don’t know what the car park would be like without the smell of his fried onions! Friendships have been made there over the years, and we are going to do all we can to keep the van where it belongs.”

Customers have started a petition to save the van.