Congestion Charge changes ‘serious blow’ to restaurants
This decision will most likely cripple us and effect our ability to stay open! – The Great Chase, Islington
Restaurant owners have expressed their concern that recent changes made to the Congestion Charge will “likely cripple” their business.
With the hospitality industry preparing to reopen across England on 4 July, the changes were introduced last week by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL).
Although temporary, the daily charge of £15 during the extended hours of 7am to 10pm has been described by one fully Halal restaurant as a “serious blow”.
As a business that is “entirely a destination restaurant rather than just your local”, The Great Chase in Islington said: “This decision will most likely cripple us and effect our ability to stay open.”
Newly opened restaurant Status Kitchen in Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, told FtLion: “We have had a lot of customers ask us if we come under the congestion zone area. Furthermore, it’s an inconvenience to us as well as we drive into work.”
According to TfL’s website: “These temporary changes will reduce traffic in central London and enable more journeys to be made safely by foot or by bike while keeping the bus network reliable for those making essential journeys.”
Speciality restaurants could be worst hit
But The Great Chase, which is scheduled to reopen on 4 July, said the decision would be “a serious blow to us as [the] majority of our guests… drive to us”.
The fine-dining establishment added: “We were originally optimistic about our chances after lockdown before the news of these government changes to the congestion charge.”
The restaurant further said that it was now “in real danger of missing out on enjoying many of your visits which make up most of our business”.
The co-owner of award-winning Indian restaurant Fatt Pundit has identified two major ways in which his business will be impacted adversely when it reopens this Saturday.
Huzefa Sajawal told FtLion that as a speciality destination based in Soho he will now have to bear the extra costs incurred whenever extra supplies require to be delivered throughout the entire day.
Estimating that around 40% of Fatt Pundit’s diners travel in by car from as far afield as Kent and Surrey, Huzefa believes that these changes “simply do not make any sense”.
“If you have two or three families driving in for a meal, they’ll now have to pay an extra £15 for each car, and that does not even include parking,” he said.
While also pointing to a drop in the number of tourists, the restaurateur added that these “contradictory” revisions will only make things “very difficult” for restaurants located within the ‘Central Zone’.
Status Kitchen revealed that while looking to relocate to Victoria Station recently, it was forced “pull out last minute due to the issues surrounding congestion charge”.
Although office workers in Victoria would ensure “passing trade of around 10,000 people at lunch time “, the owner said that he was “very concerned about weekends and people coming from outside of the congestion zone”.
Despite having continued to offer collection and delivery services since launching earlier this month, the Middle Eastern brand said: “We are now currently searching for a location around SW5/ SW6 where our customers don’t have to worry about congestion.”