TWO businesses on the Eastern side of the city centre footbridge say they have lost up to 50 percent of their takings since the council closed the bridge for cleaning during their peak trading hours.

The sudden two-week closure of the bridge between 8am and 4pm for Monday, April 9, sparked outrage among businesses who said they weren’t told until the footway over the Usk has already been closed.

The council explained the short notice was due to a marine licence being issued by Natural Resources Wales on the evening of Friday, April 6.

The Leader of Newport City Council, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, also apologised online following the closure, tweeting: “Apologies for the lack of information to residents and businesses. I thought that this had been done - officers will be there today but I appreciate that more should have been done in advance of the works - I’ve been assured closures will be kept to a minimum.”

With the bridge due to reopen on Monday April, 23, the council have said the cleaning is “going well and is on schedule”, but Horton’s Coffee House and Hi Coffee have raised concerns about the amount of business lost.

Gavin Horton, owner of Horton’s Coffee on Millennium Walk, said: “We’re probably 50 percent down in what I would expect to be taking this week.

“With the sun and good weather looking like it will return next week it’s going to have a real impact on us.

“I would like to see some form of compensation for myself and the other businesses this side of the river from the council. We should get something to mitigate the losses caused by the work that was undertaken.

“If they had told us it was going to happen we could have mitigated for it ourselves. But we didn’t even get a courtesy phone call beforehand.

“Talking to the guys who are actually working on the bridge I know they will do their utmost to get the job done in time, but I think they are definitely up against it. I just hope it’s done in time.”

Jonathon Hill, managing director of Hi Coffee which has branches in Friar’s Walk and Millennium Walk, said: “We have been suffering to be honest, partly because we’re on the main thoroughfare for foot traffic across the bridge.

“The work means we might have to alter our hours slightly to cope with the lower level of footfall.

“We’ve probably lost about 50% of our trade because we’re missing our daytime customers basically.

“I think more should have been done in the beginning. I know the work needs to be done and I campaigned for it to happen because the bridge represents the city.

“My concern is that major cities should look to protect businesses as much as possible and maybe take a bit longer to make sure decisions that will hurt them taken properly.”

A spokesperson for Newport City Council said the cleaning programme is scheduled to finish on 21 April.

“We are pleased to report the works are progressing well and are on programme and the bridge is only being closed when absolutely required,” said the spokesman.

“The contractors are doing their best to complete the contract as fast as possible.

“It was also good to hear that we have had some positive comments from passers-by complimenting the works.

“In relation to compensation any business who has a complaint is advised to write to the council.”