Doomed cafe owners' legal threat

OWNERS of a café along a vulnerable stretch of seafront are threatening legal action if council bosses push ahead with plans to knock the building down without agreeing compensation.

OWNERS of a café along a vulnerable stretch of seafront are threatening legal action if council bosses push ahead with plans to knock the building down without agreeing compensation.

The Shore Break Café in Felixstowe has been told to close its doors because of fears for public safety following the recent damage to the promenade.

The building was due to be removed today so workers could carry out emergency works to protect the sea wall under the café.

However Suffolk Coastal District Council have allowed a reprieve until Tuesday after owner Andy Mexome threatened to take out an injunction if the café was pulled down without agreeing a compensation package.


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Mr Mexome, who rents the café to Steve and Suzanne Bloomfield, said: “Every winter the beach is eroded and so every summer we invest a little more in building it up again so the business can survive another year.

“To suddenly be told I've got to remove the café is unbelievable. Although I own the building it is the council's land but I have been told they don't have the right to remove us without compensation.

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“It's not just about me but Steve and Suzanne as well - we are all in this together. It's their livelihoods at risk and I want to make sure an acceptable compensation and permanent relocation package is in place.

“We are not bad people but we are not just going to roll over and die because we will not let £60,000 worth of investment disappear down the drain.

“If we don't get adequate answers before the café is pulled down then we will be forced to take a route that could have been avoided.”

The cafe rests on girders supported at the rear by the prom and at the front on stilts on the beach.

Suffolk Coastal said experts felt the structure was no longer safe despite the recent addition of extra scaffolding.

Mr Bloomfield said: “We're not looking to take the council to the cleaners or anything like that but would just like some compensation for our loss of income.

“My wife and I have invested a lot of time and effort in the business over the last four years and to close just as we are coming into the busiest season is disappointing to say the least.

“We spent all winter just about keeping out heads afloat and look forward to the summer to recapture some of that lost trade but now it's not going to happen because of one phone call.”

Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal's deputy council leader and cabinet member for coast protection, said: “We have negotiated extra time for Mr Mexome because we recognise the incredibly short notice that we have been forced to give him has inevitably left him with very limited time to sort things out properly.”

Representatives from the council will meet with Mr Mexome and the Bloomfields early next week in a bid to work out compensation.

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