THE shock closure of popular bar restaurant Got Wine! is the latest to hit a city centre quarter which angry traders say has been forgotten by planners and targeted by "over zealous" parking wardens.
Got Wine! shut on Sunday as businesses in and around Commonhall Street claimed that they were being badly hit by a 10-year delay in plans to redevelop the area on top of the current savage recession.
Retailers persuaded to open up by promises of tree-lined streets and increased customer footfall say that delays have left them with derelict buildings and empty shops for neighbours.
And to add to their crisis it is claimed that a new team of city council traffic wardens have been slapping fines on customers’ cars.
Clothing store Golf Wear and interior design store Purple Parsnip shut up shop earlier this year and popular restaurant and bar Got Wine! closed on Sunday.
Howard Crook of Got Wine! said: "Commonhall Street wasn’t developed as it should have been. We were the busiest business in the street and undoubtedly brought customers to the area, but we came across so many obstacles along the way it made it very difficult for us."
He said issues included the council confiscating three A-boards that they had placed on Bridge Street in an effort to entice customers; delays with archaeological surveys during work to provide an outside eating area; and builders hired to carry out the work went bust.
Mr Crook added: "We believe that, despite the past, the business can succeed and we are involved in talks with potential investors to see if we can re-open."
Commenting on the traffic wardens, Simon Cleveland who runs an antiques shop on Watergate Row which backs onto Weaver Street, said: "The new traffic wardens are over-zealous."
Sandra Harris, of Sandra Harris Interiors, added: "Customers want to be able to pick items up from the shop and they won’t do that if they are getting ticketed.
She added: "The council must be able to see how things are degenerating– shops are closing, the streets are empty and they don’t do anything to help."
David Bennett of Chester City Council parking services said: "We have only just taken over these responsibilities and are still trying to establish normal working practices."
Mr Bennett said only 150 fines have been issued across the Chester area since taking over following 800 warning notices issued in the first 10 days the council took over the traffic duties.