Prom revamp lost us business, says cafe owner

The team at Cafe Latte, from left, Briege Ginnell, George Taylor and Tina Searle

The team at Cafe Latte, from left, Briege Ginnell, George Taylor and Tina Searle

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A cafe owner on Douglas’s Walpole Avenue claims takings have fallen 60 per cent since work on the promenade improvement scheme began.

George Taylor, 59, and Irish partner Briege Ginnell took over Cafe Latte a year ago. Open between 7.30am and 2pm, it aims to offer affordable breakfasts and lunches to workers, the disabled and the elderly.

Mr Taylor, who moved to the island eight years ago, said business was doing well until October last year when worked started on the £1.5m first phase of the promenades revamp.

This involved moving the Jubilee Clock, remodelling of the Victoria Road and Walpole Avenue junction, and the creation of new granite footways around Peveril Square. Parking was suspended on Walpole Avenue, it was closed to through traffic for five weeks and then the direction of its one-way system was changed. It was closed again to allow water main works.

Mr Taylor said: ‘It has had a drastic effect. I’ve seen takings down 60 per cent. Between 9am and 11.30pm we might see nobody when before we’d have groups of workmen coming in on a 10-15 minute quick break.

‘Since the latter part of last year we’ve endured elongated roadworks and road closure. We rely on passing trade and the customers ability to gain easy access. With all these roadworks going on we have struggled and nearly gone under.’

He said other businesses in the area - Utopia hairdressers, the charity shop and Pizza Hut – have all been affected.

‘We acknowledge the work was necessary and yes it looks very nice. But it’s the lack of communication about road closure orders and the lack of support that been the problem.’

Mr Taylor has contacted the government asking for assistance to help rebuild their business and that of the other traders. He said: ‘I’m not asking for cash compensation. When the government did Peel Road there was a lot of promotion about businesses still being open – we had none of that.’

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