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Fisherman's Wharf owner is losing business due to flood defence works by Environment Agency at The Quay in Sandwich


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The owner of a restaurant in Sandwich says he is losing business due to ongoing flood defence works at The Quay.

Christopher Ash, 71, who has owned the Fisherman’s Wharf with his wife Barbara, 71, and daughter Alexandra Bull, 40, for 15 years, says since the work started in October he has lost significant custom and wants to claim compensation.

He also says the work itself has gone on too long and he often sees no workmen at the site at all.

He added: “The work that needed to be done should have been done in two months and it’s been nearly six months now.

“Instead of putting their hands up and saying they’re short of workmen they just give us excuses. When it starts to take all our customers it starts to get a bit scary.”

The work is being carried out by contractors Jacksons on behalf of the Environment Agency to prevent flooding.

It is taking place right outside the restaurant, meaning entry to the business is restricted.

Work was due to be completed by March 2014, but the Environment Agency now says this is more likely to be May 2015.

Mr Ash said: “Our concern started to mount last month as the work actually done since October 2013 was minimal and we could see the site continuing on well into the spring and possibly the summer months.

“The main problem in our view is that Jackson contractors have failed to supply an adequate labour force to undertake and complete the towpath work by the forecast dates.

“Reasons for the delays have been poor weather and lately a redesign apparently of the original site plans which we view as being a dubious explanation.

“We’ve been complaining about it for a long time. The financial damage and inconvenience inflicted on our family business is considerable.”

Mr Ash has been looking into how to claim compensation from the Environment Agency in order to get back some of the revenue that has been lost since October.

The Environment Agency has confirmed there have been delays at The Quay due to the severe weather.

Ian Nunn, operations manager, said: “Between December and February, Kent experienced the highest tidal surge in 60 years and then average rain totals of 483.9mm – 270 per cent of the long term average, making the three month period ending in February the wettest on record in Kent.

“When the tidal surge hit at the start of December, Environment Agency teams worked with the project contractors to respond.

“But as a result of the weather, the project to deliver a new flood defence scheme in Sandwich has experienced some delays. This is unfortunate, but under the circumstances entirely un-preventable.

"The recent weather has highlighted the increasing importance of flood defence schemes like the one in Sandwich, and the Environment Agency will continue doing all we can to bring the scheme, which will greatly enhance the level of flood prevention, to completion."

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