BUSINESS at a bar which rose from the ashes of an historic pub could be ‘devastated’ unless a pipe spewing raw sewage is fixed, its owner has said.
Angry Mick Forfar fears his debut summer season at Number 73 Bar and Kitchen could spiral into disaster if bosses at Southern Water fail to take ‘urgent’ action.
Despite nudges from multiple contractors the utility firm has not yet identified the ownership of a broken pipe which has oozed toilet and food waste into the Waterlooville venue’s rear patio since November.
Chapel Lane, the road next to the London Road drinking hole – which was formerly The Wellington Pub – has also been hit as leaks have sprung up manhole covers on at least five separate occasions.
But while local firms have said it is Southern Water’s responsibility to fix the issue – because it lies within their network – Mick has had no choice but to fork out £160-a-time to clean up any muck which escapes.
The furious 61-year-old said: ‘We have not had to close the bar entirely yet, but if this continues, we will.
‘As a new business, it’s devastating to us to have to continue fighting this problem.’
He added: ‘We will take a massive hit in the summer. We can take tables and chairs out the front, but it’s not the same.
‘Round the back we have a ramp up but you cannot expect people with wheelchairs and pushchairs to go through a load of slop.’
Each time a flood occurs, Mick is forced to shut off Number 73’s toilets because they use the same line as the broken pipe – leaving only the disabled facilities open.
But if the problem persists the property developer, who invested £500,000 to make the venue his first foray into hospitality, says the financial implications will be much worse.
‘We built 10 en suite rooms on the site when we developed it and six of those use the same [broken] service pipe,’ he said. ‘If we don’t get that solved, we can’t open them.’
Floyd Cooper, county customer manager at Southern Water, said: ‘We’re aware of the issues Mr Forfar is having and we are sorry this is proving so tricky.
‘The situation is that his private contractor has advised him the problem is on Southern Water’s network but we believe the leak is on his side.
‘We’ve escalated this and a senior investigator will be visiting Number 73 Bar and Kitchen to pinpoint the problem.
‘We appreciate Mr Forfar needs to have clarity so the problem can be resolved, and we aim to deliver that.’