THE Restaurant Quarter celebrated seeing the back of five months of disruption last week as roadworks in South End came to end.
The £3 million works – funded by Croydon Council, the Mayor of London and Transport for London – aimed to create a cafe culture and make the street a destination for shoppers with alfresco dining, wider pavements, seating areas and more greenery.
The roadworks started in March and last week the temporary one-way system and diversions were removed, much to the relief of local business owners and residents.
Following the improvements, Peter Bagatti, owner of Bagatti's restaurant in South End, hopes to open up the front of his restaurant and have outside seating in the warmer weather.
He said: "It's great. There's still more to go but it's superb for the area, it shows off the restaurants and the unique shopping experience as well. It's great for Croydon, there's lots of regeneration going on."
Residents have also been pleased to see the end of months of disruption. Charlotte Davies, chairman of South Croydon Community Association, hopes that the spruced-up street will attract more visitors to South End.
She said: "We've worked hard to create South Croydon into a real lifestyle area. The roadworks finishing is a great thing – now everyone can come and see the great quality of shops and restaurants we have."
But not everyone is happy. Some South End businesses saythe work has been left unfinished.
Alfonso Comisotti, president of South Croydon Business Association and owner of the Audio Centre Croydon, said: "It has been very expensive and disruptive with poor design, poor management and extremely poor materials. The pavements have stained already and builder's rubbish has been left behind that hasn't been cleared out. The tiles are cracked already. It's supposed to be an improvement but it's not."
A council spokesman said that the resurfacing of the road in South End marked the end of the most disruptive works that traders, residents and visitors have faced, and that the council are aware of some paving defects that are yet to be remedied. He said: "Rest assured that these are being attended to and we remain committed to delivering the highest quality public highway throughout the Restaurant Quarter."