AN ITALIAN restaurant owner says he has lost hundreds of pounds since gas works closed the road leading to their premises.

Bella Mama’s Italian restaurant has been struggling to keep afloat over the past two weeks since Lower Dock Street in Newport was closed off for essential gas works.

Tony Gambarini, who has had his restaurant in there for 12 years, said: “It’s completely decimating the area.”

The original notice sent from Wales and West Utilities states the work would be ongoing for 12 to 13 weeks. Access to the Asda supermarket has also been affected.

“I was given an assurance the road would stay open one way, but now it’s all shut off,” Mr Gambarini said.

The Sunday carvery is the restaurant’s busiest day.

However last Sunday Mr Gambarini reported a drop in profits of 60 per cent, with a loss of around £500.

He said: “Everyone comes down in a car – families and disabled people – and they can’t park.

Last Sunday, a table of six didn’t turn up as they couldn’t find their way around the diversion and so ended up at the Toby Carvery instead.”

Profits are down 50 per cent in the week with the owner reporting a daily loss of around £300.

He said: “It’s a loss that can’t be sustained.

“I’m finding it difficult enough to pay bills and now, with this, it’s just ridiculous.”

Mr Gambarini can apply for compensation, but could have to wait up to nine months to receive it.

“It’s very worrying.”

In a statement, Wales and West Utilities said: “We are carrying out essential gas mains replacement work in the Lower Dock Street area of Newport. We are replacing old metal pipes, within 30 metres of buildings, with highly durable, non-corroding plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years.

“In order for us to carry out the work safely, we have had to close Lower Dock Street. A diversion has been clearly signposted. At the request of local businesses, signage has been placed in the surrounding area, to inform road users that businesses on Lower Dock Street are open as usual.

“We anticipate the work, which runs from the Dolphin Street to George Street junctions of Lower Dock Street, will be complete in approximately three weeks.”