A CAFE owner says wooden boards and scaffolding put up outside his building has “killed trade”.

The Lion Cafe, Bar & Bistro opened in Red Lion Yard in Colchester in December.

The cafe is next to the Red Lion Hotel, which is undergoing renovation.

Now staff at the cafe say their business has suffered as the works are putting shoppers off.

Owner Frank New said he and his wife went on holiday in January for two weeks and came back to find scaffolding had been put up.

He said: “We were told works would take about eight weeks but since then they have been intermittent.

“Easter Sunday was the first time any work was carried out for about five weeks. We have been asking for a work schedule since January but just seem to be ignored.”

Businesses tried to speak to management about getting signage saying shops are open, but had no luck.

Frank added: “Having the boards round my business has completely killed trade.

“I have been boarded up right to my door and it make the insides very dark so I have to keep all the lights on all day and the doors open even when it’s cold.

“What started out as an exciting journey has turned into a nightmare. We have had no support from management at all, at best I was told was I could put paper signs up.

“My profits are down, some days I’m not taking any more then £30 but before Christmas I was taking £150-£200 a day.

“We are disappointed with the way we have been treated, it has affected our livelihood.”

Louise Jensen, deputy centre manager at Lion Walk, said they were working hard to support businesses.

She said: “Structural timber and roof repairs are being undertaken to the Red Lion Hotel roof. As a Grade I listed building, these works are necessary.

“Supporting tenants and local businesses is our key priority and we are keeping the public informed of the trading hours, which remain unaffected, via social media and website enquiries.

“We are working as hard as we can to minimise disruption to both our tenants and retailers.”