Royston’s Dish restaurant closes - owner blames Fish Hill revamp

A RESTAURATEUR has slammed the Fish Hill Square revamp claiming it devastated her trade and forced her to close.

Dish restaurant, at The Old Court House in the square, shut on Christmas Eve after trading for over a year.

Owner Emma Langmaid blamed the closure on the North Herts District Council-led �400,000 square revamp which affected the area for three months.

“Unfortunately the roadworks on Fish Hill completely annihilated the business for four months and we couldn’t recover from that,” said Ms Langmaid, who continues to run her remaining Dish restaurant in Saffron Walden.

“The council really didn’t support us at all.”

Road use was restricted and parking bays blocked during some periods of the project.

Ms Langmaid added: “We did have really lovely customers and they were really supportive.”

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Two full-time staff were made redundant and several casual workers also lost their jobs as a result of the closure.

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, transport and enterprise, said: “When we spoke to people who live and work in Royston before the project began, businesses based in the square did express some concern as to the level of disruption, but they also told us they could see the longer-term benefits of the investment, not least to the site of Dish restaurant in the Old Court House, which now has an attractive paved area at the front of the building.

“Throughout the enhancement work, we have worked closely with business owners to ensure that any disruption was kept to a minimum.

“Full pedestrian access was maintained throughout the project, and we ensured that prominent signs were in place to remind people that it was ‘business as usual’ for the shops and restaurants in the square.

“We will now continue to work with the town centre manager and town council to ensure that people are attracted to Fish Hill Square, which in turn will provide the businesses based there with further opportunities, and boost the local economy.”

Fish Hill Square is now flanked by empty restaurants on two sides, with Dish joining another on the corner of John Street.

Dish is the second restaurant to close in the town in a matter of months, after Chinese eatery Mulan, in Kneesworth Street, was put up for sale in October. The Grade II listed Mulan building is on the market for an asking price of �275,000.