The manager of a Farnborough butchers shop with a zero hygiene rating has predicted a re-assessment will show big improvements.

The shop received the lowest possible rating following an inspection by Rushmoor Borough Council in January, but the authority has now reported seeing a "significant" increase in the shop's standards.

News of the rating prompted Farnborough resident Richard Sharpe to launch a petition branding the business as “disgraceful” and calling for the butchers to shut down.

This petition has so far received almost 750 signatures and has been sent to Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth .

However, Mohammed Shakeel told Get Hampshire that his family’s business had done “everything required by the council” to improve standards at the butchers shop.

He explained that he had requested a follow-up inspection, which is expected to take place next week.

“I’m 100% sure that when we are re-tested, things will be much better than last time,” Mr Shakeel said. “We are trying our best and we want to improve every day.”

Asked what he though of the petition, Mr Shakeel added: “I would ask the people of Farnborough to give us another chance. They are welcome to see our shop. I’m sure they will be happy to see it the way it is now.”

Following Sir Gerald’s intervention, Get Hampshire has seen a letter sent from RBC’s interim chief executive Ian Harrison to a resident explaining why the council had not taken action to close the butchers shop.

Mr Harrison explained that the council “always retains the option” to close a business with a poor hygiene rating.

In the case of restaurants, it would usually do so given the “risk of damage to public health is so great”.

A butchers shop carried a lower risk, however, as its products require preparation and cooking. In this case, the risk “rarely requires immediate closure but does require immediate action”.

Mr Harrison said the problems at the butchers shop were “acted upon very quickly” by council officers who worked with the business to make sure the problems were “rigorously addressed”.

The shop was revisited after the notices expired, when it was confirmed the shop had made “significant improvements and complied with all improvement notices”.

"The officer who revisited the premises commented that they are now operating in such a manner as to likely achieve a four or five rating (out of five),” Mr Harrison said.

“A re-rating inspection will be arranged at a suitable time.

“However, the council’s current belief is that, following this action, standards at this business have improved very considerably and therefore do not reflect a current threat to public health.”