The Canterbury Hub

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Maria’s owner says the closure on Canterbury street has been ‘helpful’ for business

The owner of a coffee lounge and ice cream parlour in Canterbury says a five day long road closure outside their shop has “helped” business.

Keith Martin, who owns Maria’s in St Peter’s Street, says the hole that appeared on the high street has resulted in them seeing their “busiest weekend in about five years”.

The closure has not blocked off as much of Maria’s side of the pavement, but mr Martin explained that it has had more of a negative impact on neighbouring businesses, Mezze Bar & Grill and Cafe Ceed.  

Keith Martin, Maria’s owner, says they haven’t suffered from the closure but neighbouring businesses have taken a hit

Mr Martin admitted: “It did happen on the worst day of the year, the busiest weekend of the year for most of us. Fortunately, we didn’t suffer but I think other businesses, the independents on the street are suffering quite a lot.”

He also highlights existing hardships for businesses in Canterbury: “The competition is getting rife now, and everybody’s trying to have a bit of the pie, it’s resilient people that will stay here. The newbies, the start-ups, they’re the ones that are going be the ones having problems.” 

The large hole on St Peter’s Street appeared, after Kent County Council (KCC) Highways dealt with a “collapse in the carriageway”.

This was also just after Southern Water completed 16 days of work on the street. The original repairs were required after the basement of Mezze Bar & Grill had flooded.

This is how it currently looks like this walking down St Peter’s Street:

The busy section of the high street has been blocked off since the morning of the May 5, right at the beginning of the first bank holiday of the month.

Crews have since been to inspect the large hole but it has still been left un-repaired, with local business owners still not certain of the cause or when it could be fixed.

Shopkeepers were allegedly woken up to the shouting and screaming of utility workers as they discovered the large hole had opened up in the part of the road they’d been working on.

The hole has been ‘covered’ with one of the closure barriers.

Pat who works at Cafe Ceed on St Peter’s Road says they’ve suffered “60-70% less business than we usually would do at this time of year” as a result of the closure.

She explained this weekend has been challenging for the Cafe: “The sinkhole has affected us because we’re losing half of our customers, they’re walking around other side of the street, they’re not coming in.”

Marias have still been able to put their chairs out whereas Cafe Ceed have ‘no chance’

Pat commented on Cafe Ceed suffering last weekend: “We usually do most of our takings through Bank Holiday and the weather was on our side as well, people would buy smoothies and salads and everything,  then take it to the park. But most people were walking on the other side of the street not coming in.”

She also said if the road does not reopen soon, the cafe has “got no chance. It’s blocking us, we can’t even put the tables and chairs out, nothing.”

KCC Highways have said that the St Peters street section of Canterbury High-street must remain closed for further investigatory works.