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Ocean Road restaurant bosses ‘starved of trade’ by street works

ON WARPATH ... Ocean Road restaurant owners angry over roadworks outside premises which they say is affecting footfall and income.

ON WARPATH ... Ocean Road restaurant owners angry over roadworks outside premises which they say is affecting footfall and income.

ANGRY restaurant owners in Ocean Road say streetworks are starving their trade and costing them up to £1,000 a week in takings.

The popular street is undergoing a £3.5m scheme to make it more pedestrian friendly.

South Tyneside Council says the work will spruce up Ocean Road, encouraging more visitors and boosting the local economy

However, business owners say the dug-up roads, lack of pavements and temporary traffic lights are bad for business.

Payam Shabani, owner of Italian restaurant Da Vinci’s, says he has had to lay off two employees due to a fall in profits.

He said: “The work is basically destroying our businesses and putting customers off.

“They can’t be dropped off outside of our restaurants, they don’t realise we are open, and passing trade avoids this messy side of the road.

“Since this work has started, I am losing in the region of £1,000 a week – this can’t go on, I have already had to let two members of staff go because there’s no work for them.”

The regeneration work, which involves resurfacing of roads and the planting of new trees, is being carried out at the same time as Northumbrian Water’s flood prevention works at the other end of the street.

However, Mr Shabani and his fellow traders feel like there’s no end in sight to their problems.

He said: “We still have to pay our business rates, nobody is offering us a discounted rate, even though we’re not receiving our usual takings. We’ve been told we should claim the loss on insurance, but why should we? This will just hike the price up.

“Some days the workers seem to have downed tools and nothing gets done, we’ve been told they’re waiting for trees, but we can never seem to get a finish date. Something needs to be done.”

Russel Choudhury, owner of curry shop Ignite, said weekends now feel more like quiet Monday evenings and some week he’s struggling to pay his staff.

He said: “People have to walk down the pavement in single file, there’s hardly any space. As the weeks have gone by, the trade is getting worse. Saturday nights, which used to be busy, are now more like Monday evenings.

“Some weeks I have made barely enough to pay staff’s wages, let alone make a profit. I don’t know how much longer we can go on like this.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez

 

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