Owner of 'successful' Wolverhampton bar forced to close due to roadworks

A city bar owner has spoken of his frustration at having to temporarily close due to ongoing roadworks.

The pavement towards the bar is cut off by the barriers as works continue
The pavement towards the bar is cut off by the barriers as works continue

Johnny Jones, who owns North Street Social in Wolverhampton, has said that the current spate of roadworks on and around North Street have forced him to have to close the venue due to lack of accessibility to the building.

He said the bar, which opened in February, had been enjoying large crowds, but the city centre roadworks have stopped customers from coming to the door.

He said: "We opened when the road works were more towards the Red Lion Street end of North Street with a very successful start to life.

"This was even without the usual footfall of the taxi run that drops off right outside our premises until this year when the road has been closed off.

"Unfortunately, as the roadworks have crept up the road to the point where we actually have no safe access to our building currently, it has forced us to temporarily close as our customers simply cannot get to our doors."

Mr Jones said he had seen a direct correlation with the reduction of accessibility and a sharp drop in trade over a six-month period, going from £50,000 turnover in a month at the beginning to just £6,500 across the whole month in July.

The area outside the bar has workmen and protective barriers around the pavement

He also spoke of his frustration at the building being vandalised by drunk people and asked Wolverhampton Council for better communication on the matter.

He said: "To add insult to injury, the building site that has been left unattended at weekends with breeze-blocks, tools, slabs and bricks gets broken into by drunk attendees of the town.

"We have now had our building vandalised twice smashing full windows with breeze-blocks.

"We find ourselves in a very tough predicament as we have reached out to the council for support and better communication and yet we find ourselves being ignored.

"I see how positive the works will be for the aesthetics and overall perception of the city, but I believe this all could of been handled much much better."

A spokesman for Wolverhampton Council said: “Our public realm improvement works will help revitalise the city centre, attract visitors and support local businesses.

"However, we recognise the potential disruption caused and have worked closely with North Street Social and other businesses in neighbouring streets, providing regular updates about what’s happening.

“Pedestrian access has always been maintained to North Street and contractors have ensured any paving work directly outside the business was carried out when it was closed. At no point has access been completely restricted.

“Our contractors have spoken with the businesses while keeping them informed, and we continue to engage and respond to correspondence from the owners. We of course condemn any vandalism and encourage them to report any incidents to the police.

“We have appointed a business advisor to work in nearby Victoria Street and explained that once that work is completed, the offer of the business advisor can be extended further.

“The work in this area of North Street is set to be completed by late September and will create a long-term open inviting space to support the city, boosted further by the reopening of the fantastic Wolverhampton Civic Halls.”

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