Murky Depths

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Bexleyheath, Blackheath

Bexleyheath Bella Italia & Blackheath Cafe Rouge to permanently close

Courtesy Google

Casual Dining Gruop have today revealed which branches of restaurants will close after revealing 91 will shut for good with the loss of 1,900 jobs.

Bella Italia in Bexleyheath and Cafe Rouge in Blackheath are among those to permanently close. The Bromley branch of Cafe Rouge is another victim in today’s list.

Bella Italia is located within the Cineworld building in Bexleyheath. It wasn’t a great spot in terms of passing footfall. It’s next door to Frankie & Benny’s which have their own problems. They announced 3,000 job losses last month.

Looking towards Cineworld. New shops and commercial space at ground floor level

When things get back to normal any forthcoming restaurants would be more likely to succeed in new commercial units planned at the base of new homes opposite Cineworld.

New units at base of block

Footfall is far higher here between council offices, shoppers heading to Lidl and people towards the cinema – and that will only increase with 500 new homes.

 

 

 

8 Comments

  1. These come at the same time as SSP Group’s closing Upper Crust and Caffè Ritazza.

    I have to say, however, that Cafe Rouge venues always looked a little sad and old fashioned. I remember the food as being okay, but haven’t dined in for for many years. As always, it’s the workforce that will suffer the most. Retail job redundancies are rising fast with nothing to take their place.

  2. Charles Calthrop

    This is what I don’t understand. Café Rouge was clean, pleasant and a decent place to spend the afternoon for a light lunch or tea. It may have struggled but it could have been given some more help by the Government. On the other hand you have nail and beauty salons – a pure cash-based sector of the market. One owner with up to dozen cash-paying stylists, barbers nail technicians etc who ‘rent’ a chair for cash and pay a cut of the day’s take. Holloway Road or St John’s Wood it’s all the same – undeclared income and a free bailout on top. Something has gone bad when dentists aren’t allowed to furlough or claim rates relief but every cash-based mini-market nail salon and takeaway gets a massive handout. I’d happily trade a few of the barber shops along Plumstead High Street for the Cafe Rouge in Blackheath.

    • Nail bars, beauty salons and barbers were all forced to close at the start of lockdown and can’t officially reopen until 4 July. They all have rent and rates to pay and not everyone working on the premises is renting a chair.

      I would be interested to see your proof that such businesses have been able to take advantage of the government’s furlough scheme.

      • Charles Calthrop

        Rates holiday automatically applied for one year. Rents assistance through a grant of either £10k or £10/25k depending on rateable value. Furlough available through JRS including for company directors (minus dividends). Bounce back loans up to £50k depending on self-declared turnover: this sector was not hung out to dry, far from it.

        As for proof I’ve already raised it with my local MP and given the evidence I’ve gathered myself or forwarded on from others who were able to verify places open during lockdown. I have no truck with people who flout the rules, let alone during a pandemic. There are indeed places on the up-and-up that run an honest book but they’re an exception rather than the rule. I’m always ready to be proved wrong but when these places re-open looking better than ever you may well reconsider

        • Gathered the evidence, hmmmn. Are you also concerned with the businesses who have furlouged staff, but are abusing the system or is it just the barbers and nail bars on Plumstead High Street that has drawn your ire?

          • Charles Calthrop

            Oh I’m no longer a Greenwich resident so my ire is now exported to another Borough. I have nothing but respect for the supermarkets and food places that risked their lives to stay open but seeing nail salons and such sneaking people in and out for weeks on end is a different matter. The police are powerless as they have neither the official power nor the political backing to intervene (and as Cummings showed, its entirely arbitrary).

            I do sound harsh I suppose: people have jobs after all and families too. So do I, and so do those poor people at Café Rouge and all the other places that won’t come back. These were hard-working people too and they didn’t game the system but paid taxes and offered honest trade for fair prices. Then you have those businesses that took out bounce-back loans with no intention of repayment, or knowing that if the business folded they’d still have ‘free money’ (Daily Record June 11). My ire is reserved for everyone who cheats the system at the expense of honest people – and from what I’ve seen driving my cab through this lockdown the absolute majority are these cash-only places.

  3. Graham

    Cafe Rogue in Blackheath Village as not been that busy and like some other businesses the lockdown due to Covid-19 was the final staw for them.

    Lets remenber many of these companies were already struggling finacially well before
    covid-19.

    I can only speak for my barbers who have remained firmly shut with the shutters down from lockdown until this morning.when they could finally re-open to customers.

    I know of one barber along Plumnstead High Street who remained open after lockdown ignoring the Governments lockdown advise if the rules did not appply to him until he was forced to close by Greenwich Council.

    This was reported back then by either Murky on this site or 853. I cannot remenber which one now.

  4. I think it was Murky who reported the non-compliance by that barber. In Lewisham where I live, there has been full compliance by the grooming industry on lockdown.

    As you say, many businesses were in financial difficulties before covid-19 and there will be permanent absences from high streets and shopping centres now that lockdown has been lifted.

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