Published: 17:00, 10 May 2019
A restaurant owner says his business has been saved from collapse by the reopening of a road.
Union Street was cut off, with the western end of the Esplanade, for two years for the Dover Western Docks Revival work.
Turrloo Parrett, of the Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant, says during that time his trade fell to up to half because customers couldn’t reach the eaterie.
He was only able to keep the business going by bankrolling it from his own pocket.
Now he has already seen a resurgence in business after the route was reopened on Friday, along with the opening of the new Marina Pier.
He said: “I am now breathing a huge sigh of relief, having suffered serious losses.
“The worst part was that the only way to my restaurant was all the way around the Eastern Docks roundabout.
“People’s sat navs didn’t allow for that so they got lost and couldn’t come.
“I had to use my own income to save the restaurant from collapse and had to pay staff on days when there was no business.
“But I didn’t want to make anyone redundant.”
He added that he had to get staff medically checked because of noise from piling work.
KentOnline's sister paper, The East Kent Mercury reported on the problem in April 2018 when Mr Parrett claimed the Esplanade restaurant’s takings had initially fallen by nearly 10%.
This was between July and September 2016, before the closure of Union Street and at the same time in 2017. These months are the restaurant’s busiest.
He says that the worst period was early 2018 when takings fell by 40 to 50% when the piling took place close to the restaurant.
“Customers would even leave the restaurant because of the noise. But Dover Harbour Board, to be fair, tried to be helpful and stopped it being done between noon and 2pm.”
“I had to use my own income to save the restaurant from collapse and had to pay staff on days when there was no business..." Turrloo Parrett
He estimates losses at £40,000 over the period. He says he is now negotiating with Dover Harbour Board for compensation.
DWDR is the single biggest investment ever undertaken by the Port of Dover and £250 million has been committed to delivering the first phase.
It will include a cargo terminal, freeing more space for ferry traffic within Dover Eastern Docks, and transforming the waterfront with shops, bars, café and restaurants.
A spokesman for the Port of Dover said: “Projects of this scale and size inevitably have some impact on stakeholders, however throughout construction we have worked very closely with local stakeholders, and especial Mr Parrett in order to mitigate the impact, wherever feasible.
“The cessation of piling was implemented for two hours each day to coincide with the lunchtime service period and didn’t extend beyond 6pm in the evening to ensure Hythe Bay’s two key dining times were not impacted.
“The construction programme was developed to minimise road closure periods and extensive temporary road re-direction signage was installed to re-route visitors to the seafront, supported with extra signs on the Esplanade for a number of seafront businesses, Hythe Bay included.”
Regular update meetings with stakeholders and noise investigations were conducted to monitor impact of noise, and also specifically for the Hythe Bay restaurant to ensure the wellbeing of their staff and customers alike.
He added: “A dedicated parking area, with disabled bays, was established outside the restaurant and customers were also given permission to use the Port of Dover staff car parking facilities.”
“The new pier and Union Street are now open and are an asset to the seafront and will undoubtedly attract renewed footfall to the seafront.”