PORTSMOUTH City Council has been accused of deliberately trying to put off shoppers from Charlotte Street with a steel barrier.
Fagin’s Cafe owner Philip Allison says the 3in steel barrier makes people believe the area is closed for business so they will not have to pay as much if it is compulsory purchased for the planned Northern Quarter development.
He says he is losing around £100 a day because of it.
But Barry Walker, the council’s city centre manager, called Mr Allison’s claims ‘mischievous’ and said the barrier was there to protect pedestrians.
He said other traders had already made deals with the council and the developers of the planned Northern Quarter and he could not understand why Mr Allison had not done the same.
Mr Allison said: ‘The council wants my rent and rates. I’m not a magician, I can’t pick money out of the air. I’ve got to have passing trade to get my money.’
The barrier has been in place for two years.