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    Heartbroken owners blame new traffic rules for closing three Oxford family businesses

    Stuart Macbeth (a customer) with one of the brothers (Photo via LDRS)

    By Noor Qurashi, Local Democracy Reporter

    The owners of three family businesses are “devastated” their enterprises will all close on the same day due to traffic restrictions.

    Akiport Convenience Store, Akiport Café, and the Berkshire Pub for Portuguese food were set to shut their doors on 1 June with bosses blaming double yellow lines for the decision.

    In a joint statement in April which announced the closure, the Abingdon Road business said the new parking restrictions implemented by the council were “an absolute small-business killer”.

    “Implementing a no-stop at any time restriction on the Abingdon Road, especially after 6.30pm, makes this road more like a ghost road with no congestion at all,” it said.

    Now, the brothers who run the cafe and store, Aldonio and Sergio Mendes Gois have said they are “too upset to talk” after announcing the closure of their other enterprises of 14 years.

    Aldonio, manager of the Café, said: “I’m so sad and devastated at the moment.

    “We don’t see how the business is viable for the next two years. The parking restrictions don’t make us want to go forward.

    “At the back of our cafe there are a lot of elderly people who come here. We are pretty much the only family they have.”

    Aldonio said he did not wish to comment much more due to sadness but that there had been “people crying about the closure all week”.

    “It’s been in the family for years now,” he added.

    City councillor Anna Railton, who represents the Hinksey Park ward, agreed the businesses had closed on announcement of the double yellow lines implementation.

    The Labour representative added: “The day they (the county council) got those painted they (the owners) surrendered the lease.

    “It’s a massive shame. I really like the Pastal de Nata.”

    Ms Railton went on to say she had phoned the business up after the announcement and asked the family to reconsider.

    She said the bus companies had been “super in favour of the restrictions” but some people were concerned and she noted there was a car park “around a two to three minute walk away”.

    Oxfordshire County Council says the aim of the changes to Abingdon Road is to improve the route for cyclists.

    A spokesman for the council added: “The previous single yellow line restrictions allowed parking in the cycle lanes and vehicles would often park on the footway.

    “Alternative short-stay parking is still available in the side roads – for example, a non-permit holder could park in Norreys Avenue after 6pm for two hours until the restrictions ended and then for the rest of the evening without moving their car.

    “Regarding double yellow lines, vehicles are permitted to stop on double yellow lines for loading purposes unless there is also a loading ban.”

    But Independent Oxford Alliance councillor David Henwood said: “It’s a whole community that little café.

    “People come from all over Oxford. Is this the beginning of the end for many small businesses?”

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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