A man who wants to open a café bar along a street dubbed “takeaway alley” insists he can defy the doubters and make it a success.
The previous occupant of the building in London Road, Dover, who ran a home decor shop there, claims it is “not a place to have a business” due to traffic and parking problems.
There are already 11 food outlets along that half-mile stretch of road, between Bridge Street and Cherry Tree Avenue.
It has four Chinese takeaways, three pizza parlours, one café, one bakery, one restaurant and one fish and chip shop.
But Priyathanushan Shanmugarajah told KentOnline he is “confident” his proposed new venture “will work out”.
The Aylesham resident said: “It will still be the only café bar in that area.
“Parking is available and in any case this will be mainly for local people who will come from within walking distance.”
But Lisa Hazell, who ran the now-vacant Clara-Beau Interiors shop at the site, says there was not enough parking in the area – while port traffic also caused issues.
She operated her antiques, home decor and gift shop at the premises for two years until this March.
“Also our business suffered because of the level of port traffic, especially in the summer.
“Traffic bulletins would warn of congestion there, even when it wasn’t that bad, so customers would stay away.
“And the area my shop was in had hardly any parking. I decided that Dover was not a place to have a business.”
She says because it is difficult to drive along and park in the area, potential customers are often limited to those within walking distance.
She believes that only businesses such as takeaways can thrive there because they can go out to deliver food.
Mrs Hazell is originally from Brighton and had run a previous Clara-Beau in Eastbourne. She is now emigrating to Costa Rica to retire with her husband.
Port traffic regularly spills into arterial roads in Dover when the usual routes are overwhelmed.
On July 22 last year, one of the worst days for this, Clara-Beau’s Facebook page warned customers that the premises couldn’t be opened that day because of the volume of traffic.
Mrs Hazell wrote: “I am unable to get anywhere near Dover so cannot open the shop.
“I got as far as Capel-le-Ferne then gave up and came home. On my way home traffic was backed up all the way through Hythe and beyond.”
The application for the new business, with 200 sq m (2,153 sq ft) of floor space, was submitted on August 5.
No comments from members of the public or official bodies have since been made on the Dover District Council planning portal.