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‘I’ve probably lost 80pc of my trade’: businesses hit by roadworks

PUBLISHED: 06:38 18 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:27 18 August 2020

Alex Campeao, owner of Copa Cubana on Upper King Street. Picture: Archant

Alex Campeao, owner of Copa Cubana on Upper King Street. Picture: Archant

Archant

A café owner said he had lost 80pc of his trade since city centre roadworks began.

Shun Tomii, owner of Shiki Japanese restaurant in Norwich. Picture: ArchantShun Tomii, owner of Shiki Japanese restaurant in Norwich. Picture: Archant

Last week, works began on a £2.5m revamp of the Tombland area of Norwich, which will see more open space, the demolition of an eyesore toilet block and improved cycle access around the historically significant part of the city.

However, traders in the area said that since the works began they had seen a severe drop off in trade - including café owner Alex Campeao, who has seen numbers decrease rapidly.

Mr Campeao, who runs Copa Cubana on Upper King Street, said: “Since the roadworks started I’ve probably lost about 80oc of my trade - it has been really, really difficult.

“Two Mondays ago I’d estimate I had around 30 our 40 customers - last Monday, when the roadworks started, I probably only saw about four. That can’t be a coincidence.”

Works to improve Tombland for pedestrians and cyclists has begun. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWorks to improve Tombland for pedestrians and cyclists has begun. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Shun Tomii, who runs Japanese restaurant Shiki on Tombland, said: “We have to rely on people dining outside, but who really wants to sit next to roadworks when they have a meal? I call it the Great Fence of Tombland.

“Eat Out To Help Out has definitely helped us, but I am really dreading what it will be like when that has finished. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have waited until October to give us all more of a chance.”

Members of staff at Aroma café and the Edith Cavell have also claimed business has slowed, but the council said the works - which will last until March - needed to be done while the city remained quiet.

Martin Wilby, chairman of the Transforming Cities joint committee, said: “The improvements being undertaken at Tombland will aid the recovery of the area in the longer term by enhancing walking, cycling and public transport and boosting both tourism and the economy.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. Picture: Simon ParkinMartin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport. Picture: Simon Parkin

“We need to complete these works whilst the city centre is still relatively quiet to minimise the potential for further disruption and start to realise these benefits as quickly as possible.

“We appreciate this is a very difficult time for all businesses and while there is no direct financial help in respect of highway projects, there is a range of government support available to all businesses affected by the pandemic.”


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