THE Divito's ice cream shop in Crossgates will be shut for a "complete refurbishment" after the manager finished up on Tuesday.

Owner Bruce Hogg said redevelopment plans, which includes 10 new flats, have been brought forward due to the "unexpected" closure of the Main Street premises.

He said that their retail franchise partner, Ionela Botea, "has decided to give up her interest in the shop for personal reasons".

In a statement Mr Hogg said: "Since this has been a sudden and unexpected decision it means we are unable to keep the shop open at this time.

"The shop was scheduled to close at the end of the summer for a complete refurbishment, along with the adjacent shop properties, so this work will now be brought forward and on completion a new partner will be appointed for the retail side of the business.

"In the meantime Divito’s famous ice cream continues to be available in many local neighbourhood shops and local Asda stores.

"Finally, we would like to thank all our long-standing customers for their support over the last century!

"Also best wishes to Ionela and family for the future."

Earlier this month, Ionela had posted online that, "due to circumstances outwith my control", she would no longer be the shop manager as of June 30 as "my contract is not being renewed".

She had told the Times: "I never thought it would end up like this.

"I've always tried to do things right and I've really loved my time here.

"My wish is they'll find another person and the shop will re-open soon.

"Let's be positive, maybe another nice venture is just waiting for me."

Ionela added: "I've been at Divito's for four years so now I'll have more time to spend with my son, he's almost 11-months-old and he's walking, while I try to find a job.

"I'm from Romania and my husband is from Moldova, but we named our son William Jacob because I love Scotland."

Ionela and Divito's was part of a tremendous community effort to help others during lockdown with a foodbank running from the shop.

The foodbank has now moved back to the Crystal Corner shop, where it was initially, and last week Crossgates Together presented Ionela with flowers and a leaving gift to say thank-you.

In January, Mr Hogg's company received permission to demolish the ice cream shop and adjacent buildings as part of plans to build 10 new flats in Crossgates.

Thankfully, a new and bigger shop is also part of the scheme.

Fife Council gave the go-ahead for all the existing buildings at 57-61 Main Street to be knocked down and replaced by a housing development.

As well as the 10 flats, there will be solar panels on the roof, 14 car-parking spaces, a cycle store for 35 bikes and a new access for vehicles.

A previous plan to develop the site, submitted by Mr Hogg in June 2010, was eventually approved in 2016 after a legal agreement was reached with the council. This permission lapsed.