Parents and their children who use the Pottery Painting Company in Devizes have spoken of their sadness that the shop has been forced to close because of high running costs.

Leanne Murphy, who opened the business in November 2012 with friend Caroline Kean, closed the shop on the corner of Maryport Street and Monday Market Street at the weekend. She blamed high commercial rates and an increase in competitors.

The closure came as a shock to families who have enjoyed creating their own designs on pottery. Many of them have taken to Facebook to express their sadness,.

Leslie Mills said: “What a shame the pottery decorating shop is closing. I do hope the lovely girl who runs it can find alternative premises in town.

“It’s individual businesses like this that make a town like Devizes a bit special.”

Mrs Murphy said she had been paying £500 a month in rates and this included a discount for being a small business. But as she was near the top end of the £12,000 limit on receiving a discount she received very little. She said some neighbouring businesses paid nothing in rates.

But Mrs Murphy said that while the way rates were assessed baffled her she was taking the blame for her business closing.

She said: “I take full responsibility for choosing this expensive site. I was blinded by its potential as a creative space. The increased competition was not part of the plan.

“I am proud of the two years I had.”

The premises was for many years the Cheese Shop and later became Travelwise. It was empty for some time after the travel agents moved premises.