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Wayside Café to close in November

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A POPULAR St Brelade’s Bay café has confirmed plans to close for good later this year.

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Having catered for Islanders and holidaymakers for the past 17 years, the Wayside Café is to shut on 3 November ahead of a major redevelopment of the site.

Plans to build five apartments on the site, which also includes an 18th-century Conway tower, a bungalow on Mont Sohier and an adjacent stretch of shoreline, were given the go-ahead last year following an appeal.

Business owner Margaret Russell said that it had been an emotional period as she finalised arrangements to close the Wayside.

‘The lease runs until the end of the year, but I didn’t want my staff to be working in December when they’ll be trying to find work and accommodation, so the last trading day will be early November,’ she said. ‘It’s been emotional for us – like breaking up a family – and customers have felt the same when they’ve found out.’

The Wayside has six full-time employees and additional seasonal staff. Mrs Russell said she was busy finalising redundancy arrangements for her full-time staff, three of whom have worked for her for 14 years.

Two other businesses that have been a familiar part of the bay for many years are also affected. Fish ’n’ Beads, which sells clothes, hair accessories and paintings, as well as organising art and craft workshops, will leave the site at the end of October. Owner Tina Ellis-Brecknell said she hoped to relocate the business, but had not yet been successful in securing new premises.

Businessman Jono Steventon is due to vacate his surf shop on the Wayside Slip at the end of October, having run the premises for the past eight years. Mr Steventon will continue to operate Jono’s Watersports, which has been based in St Brelade’s Bay for the past 22 years, hiring out kayaks, paddleboards and beach equipment.

‘There’s been a surf shop on the site since 1982, and the plans for the new development include a surf shop, so hopefully there may be an opportunity in the future, but I haven’t had any discussions so far,’ said Mr Steventon.

The successful appeal by Conway Towers Properties Ltd marked the end of a contentious planning saga. After considerable opposition from residents in St Brelade’s Bay and conservationists, the initial application was rejected by the Planning Committee in 2017.

Construction on the site is expected to start next year. This will include two five-bedroom apartments and the replacement of the existing bungalow with a block of two apartments. The existing Wayside Café will be replaced with a new restaurant and delicatessen, with accommodation above.

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