Northampton cafe owner can no longer serve customers outside due to new town centre road

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A cafe in Northampton can no longer serve customers outside after the pavement was narrowed to just two metres- wide to let traffic past.

Yet the pavement on the opposite side of the road, which has no shops, is wider.

Northampton Borough Council said the measure, in Wellington Street, is necessary to let cars, which will be able to use the top of Abington Street from November, drop off their passengers to the left of the road.

But Maria Arias, who owns Maria’s Cafe, said a wide pavement opposite, which will be only lightly used, will be completely galling given she has used the opposite side for the last 20 years and will now see it become too narrow for any furniture.

Mrs Arias, who used to seat four out of 10 of her customers outside, said she was considering closing her business.

She said: “We seat about a dozen indoors and could get another eight outside.

“Now it will be impossible to put furniture outside, there is hardly enough room for people to walk past.”

Her daughter Carolita said: “What happens when the road eventually opens? There will be fumes from passing cars and vehicles dropping off.

“We’re a small cafe and you can’t keep the doors closed all the time.

“The scheme is terrible for the cafe, yet there’s been no acknowledgement of what this will to do the business.”

Mrs Arias is the latest in a string of businesses to complain at the harmful effect s of opening up Abington Street to traffic. 
But a Guildhall spokesman said yesterday the council would work with cafes who have used outdoor seating. 
He said: “The reopening of Abington Street is set to revitalise the area as we bring more shoppers and visitors there.
“ We’re working with local businesses to support them while the work to re-establish the former road is completed. This has included putting up signs to help shoppers find their favourite shops and cafes, as well as providing free parking to businesses to help overcome any inconvenience.
 “We will look again at what options may exist for licensing trading on the pavements when the road reopens and traffic can once again flow along Abington Street and shoppers start to use the drop off points.”