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Samantha's snack bar business eroding

PUBLISHED: 20:23 24 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 March 2010

AS she surveys her business from The Crow's Nest, Samantha Dorling can see it's going to be a tough summer by the sea.

In front of her snack bar stretches a sturdy six feet high metal wire mesh fence, which has cut the number of potential customers by reducing parking at a popular visitor attraction and is, literally, driving business away.

AS she surveys her business from The Crow's Nest, Samantha Dorling can see it's going to be a tough summer by the sea.

In front of her snack bar stretches a sturdy six feet high metal wire mesh fence, which has cut the number of potential customers by reducing parking at a popular visitor attraction and is, literally, driving business away.

"With less spaces the car park is full for much longer – people drive in and drive out again and go somewhere else," said Samantha.

"My business has already suffered badly this year because of the previous closure and now it looks like I am going to lose another chunk of business during the summer."

Samantha has run The Crow's Nest snack bar at the John Bradfield Viewing Area at Landguard, Felixstowe, since October 2000, and has built up a loyal clientele, who enjoy food and hot soup and tea in even the wildest weather.

She opens from 10am to 5pm or 6pm depending on the weather, and is still open for business.

But uncertainty over the safety of the viewing area, which overlooks the port, has led to a third of its being closed off for the second time in two months.

There are fears that a section of it could collapse into the sea because of the pounding the shore below has taken over the winter months.

Already part of a prom alongside, in front of Landguard Fort, has collapsed.

Samantha said the reduction of car parking was causing problems for all the attractions in the area, including the museum and fort, and foot ferry.

"It's very difficult and a bit worrying for all of us. If people use the ferry to go to Harwich, then they leave their cars here all day, which means other people cannot use those spaces," she said.

"If the car park is full, then people will not stop to use the ferry.

"The loss of those extra 20 spaces mean there is less coming and going, too, because people don't want to lose their space – they might buy a cup of tea when they arrive, but then that's it. A full car park but no business."

Many elderly people did not stop because they liked to be on the front row, which is now missing, so they could see the sea and shipping and cannot view so well through the fencing.

Other visitors have stayed away because they have been uncertain as to whether the car park was fully open or not.

"Everyone is very supportive and people are being really nice. I am also pleased the port have been keeping me informed about what is going on," she added.

Suffolk Coastal council says the area has been fenced off "as a precaution".

The landowners – the port owns the viewing area and English Heritage the fort –have agreed to put in hand works to stabilise the situation as soon as possible.

Doreen Savage, chairman of the Felixstowe resort regeneration forum said: "We all greatly regret the inconvenience caused but our first priority is to ensure the safety of the general public and we hope that it will not be too long before the area can be re-opened."

WEBLINK: www.english-heritage.org.uk

www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk


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