‘It’s a beau­ti­ful place – but who wants to walk around in sewage?’

Never-end­ing nightmare for ten­ant Izzet Yil­maz as wait for Cowey Sale café goes on and on and on...

Staines Informer - - NEWS - Char­lotte To­bitt

THE Cowey Sale café is still plagued with prob­lems, ren­der­ing it un­able to func­tion three years af­ter Wal­ton Bridge opened, leav­ing its new ten­ant up­set and an­gry.

Izzet Yil­maz, who has been run­ning the mo­bile Café Gino from the car park at Cowey Sale for seven years, has been ready and wait­ing to move into the new build­ing for three years.

The big­gest is­sue stop­ping the move for Mr Yil­maz, who has signed a lease, is that public toi­lets in the build­ing of­ten flood, send­ing a stream of wa­ter and even sewage into the café.

The build­ing was passed from Sur­rey County Coun­cil to Elm­bridge Bor­ough Coun­cil more than a year ago but there were out­stand­ing is­sues to be dealt with by the con­trac­tor be­fore Mr Yil­maz could be­gin fit­ting out.

Now he has spent more than £20,000 on kitchen equip­ment which lies un­used – with just six months left on its war­ranty – be­cause he still can­not open his café.

Mr Yil­maz said: “Hon­estly, I am re­ally up­set and an­gry. I have been three years, deal­ing with it – imag­ine.

“The coun­cils pass ques­tions to each other daily and noth­ing im­proves.”

Con­sul­tant en­gi­neer Michael Pat­te­more, act­ing on Mr Yil­maz’s be­half, said the wrong pump­ing sys­tem was used for the toi­lets.

The toi­lets flooded on the af­ter­noon of Sun­day May 29 and on bank hol­i­day Mon­day the main wa­ter pipes flooded, spilling into the café.

Mr Pat­te­more said: “It’s a beau­ti­ful place but who wants to walk around in sewage?” He added: “There have been ac­cu­sa­tions that it’s Café Gino’s fault it’s been de­layed.

“It’s noth­ing to do with him. It’s to do with the orig­i­nal build­ing con­struc­tion.

“It has never been fit for pur­pose.”

Mr Pat­te­more said the café could lose its li­cence if it opened with faulty toi­lets.

The café has been plagued with other prob­lems too.

Mr Yil­maz re­cently paid more than £24,000 to in­stall a canopy over the en­trance to stop rain com­ing in through the doors. He also erected a fence around the café af­ter peo­ple re­peat­edly drove cars over the pa­tio, right up to the build­ing.

There were prob­lems with the roof leak­ing through­out the win­ter and wa­ter com­ing up through the floor. Both is­sues that have now been mit­i­gated.

If all that wasn’t enough, a slid­ing metal door needs to be re­hung. It gets stuck ev­ery morn­ing due to rust, re­quir­ing three peo­ple to open it.

On sev­eral oc­ca­sions it has been stuck open at night, re­sult­ing in an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, such as graf­fiti, fight­ing and sy­ringes and sharp ob­jects be­ing dis­cov­ered the next day.

Melvyn Mills, a former coun­cil­lor and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Wal­ton Trad­ing Al­liance, voiced the group’s sup­port for Mr Yil­maz.

“This is the jewel in the crown of Wal­ton for many years as a beauty spot and it is far from a beauty spot when we’ve got this sit­u­a­tion here,” he said.

“Hav­ing spo­ken to the traders last week, they are all in agree­ment that this needs to be right.”

He said the cost to put the is­sues right was im­ma­te­rial at this stage. “Let’s get it fixed and sort out who is to blame af­ter­wards,” he said.

A spokesman for Elm­bridge Bor­ough Coun­cil said: “There have been some sup­ported and put on­go­ing is­sues with the toi­lets at Cowey Sale, built by Sur­rey County Coun­cil.

“Elm­bridge Bor­ough Coun­cil and Sur­rey County Coun­cil are work­ing to­gether to re­solve these is­sues speed­ily so the ten­ant can progress with his plans to open the café.

“Fol­low­ing an on­site meet­ing, Sur­rey County Coun­cil’s con­trac­tor has done some ur­gent works to ad­dress the drainage prob­lems.

“Both Elm­bridge and Sur­rey coun­cils are com­mit­ted to re­solv­ing the is­sues so that the toi­lets remain open to the public.”

Darren Pepe RS162243

Izzet Yil­maz (fore­ground) with Michael Pat­te­more, and Melvyn Mills and Joanna Gordon from Wal­ton Trad­ing Al­liance.

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