‘It’s rather un-fair’ says Grantham cafe owner after ride forces closure

'Inconsiderate' position of ride forces temporary closure of Cafe Leo in Grantham.
'Inconsiderate' position of ride forces temporary closure of Cafe Leo in Grantham.
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A café owner was forced to close for three days after a ride on the Mid-Lent Fair was erected just inches from his shop window.

Paul Meakin, 31, said he was stunned when he turned up for work at Café Leo on Monday to find the huge structure blocking his business entrance.

Paul Meakin and Jessica Vincent, owners of Cafe Leo in Grantham.

Paul Meakin and Jessica Vincent, owners of Cafe Leo in Grantham.

The view from his window into Westgate was completely obstructed as the fairground attraction plunged the family-run business into darkness.

Paul said he had no choice but to close on health and safety grounds, costing his business over £1,000.

He added: “Everybody thought we were closed anyway. You couldn’t get anywhere near the shop really. It was unbelievable.

“It was literally three feet away from the window. Who could ever think that was a good idea? What customer wants to sit having a coffee and look out the window at the back end of a giant fairground ride. It was just really inconsiderate to say the least.

“I had no choice but to close on health and safety grounds. Takings are down over a £1,000 at least.

“My worry was if we had to evacuate a hoard of people would just have been blocked off by a ride and a lamppost.

“The council just don’t seem to consider small local businesses here. It was a barmy decision.”

South Kesteven District Council told Paul they will make sure it doesn’t happen again but said it was impossible to move the ride after it was put in position.

Paul, who runs Café Leo with his wife Jessica, added: “We have been here for four years and it’s been the same ride every year but it’s been in a sensible place. I used to get nervous about the fair coming but because the past few years it’s been the same ride it didn’t cause me any concern.

“In terms of compensation the council said they would just look into it.”

The annual Mid-Lent Fair anded on Wednesday business was soon back up and running.

Regular customer Frank Rhimes, 66, said: “Somebody at the council needs their heads examining.

“I couldn’t believe it when I turned up for my daily coffee and saw this massive ride looming over the shop. It just makes you wonder who makes these kind of decisions.”

A South Kesteven District Council spokeswoman said: “We are facilitating a solution between the showman responsible for the ride and the cafe owner.”