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Cafe boss: city street works cost me £30,000

By Donna Deeney

A cafe owner has claimed he is out of pocket by £30,000 because of Belfast City Management’s Streets Ahead Project.

Barry McCann, from Coffee Fountain in Fountain Street, wants compensation for the loss of business he says he incurred last year when road workers were stationed outside his premises for almost three months.

He said the return this week of road workers could be enough to put him out of business.

However, a spokesperson for the Department for Social Development said the works currently under way are just “finishing touches”.

Mr McCann said: “For almost three months last year we lost a lot of business because people were put off from coming into the cafe because of the amount of dust and noise the Streets Ahead project caused.

“I lost about £30,000 worth of business and that is a lot for a small business to absorb, and now they are back repairing drains and I fear for the future of my business.”

The DSD spokesperson said the team behind the Streets Ahead project meets regularly with traders to address their concerns.

Mr McCann’s business was formerly Cafe Paul Rankin, for whom he was area manager, and he said it was a big decision for him to take over the cafe.

He added: “It was not easy for me to go into business for myself, given the economic climate but I thought I could make it work.

“I had money set aside for refurbishment and renovations but that has all gone because of the income I have lost but when I contacted the Belfast City Management or the contractors no-one is interested in how local businesses have suffered.”

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