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Top Caribbean restaurant forced to close

CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: Caribbean Scene founder and chief executive Patrick Marche stands outside the premises in Stratford, east London

A CARIBBEAN restaurant frequented by Olympic stars throughout London 2012 has been forced to shut "indefinitely" while Newham Council fixes a two-year-old pipe leak, its management has said.

Caribbean Scene, set in the heart of Stratford in east London, has been left devastated by recent rainfall, which has caused flooding and damage to the kitchen and floorboards posing a health and safety risk to customers.

The flagship branch is one of three sites of the successful restaurant chain and employs approximately 40 staff, "all of whom face redundancies in the lead up to Christmas," its founder and chief executive Patrick Marche said.

Marche added: "It’s really disappointing to have to close just before the Christmas period which is usually our busiest time of the year. The council has been aware of the leak for some time and we have been trying really hard to get some resolution but it's like they don’t care.

HEALTH AND SAFETY RISK: Water damage to floorboards in one section of the restaurant

"Add to that the planting of the trees blocking our signage and the disinformation around the Olympics and what the authorities said it would do for business and it almost feels like we are being victimised and bullied. I feel terrible for the many staff who won’t have any work for Christmas and the effect on them and their families. I can only hope this gets resolved soon”.

However, a Newham Council spokesperson has confirmed that while they are aware of the problem, the restaurant will have to recover costs for the damage caused by the leak, which they say comes from the private flats above, through their insurance.

The spokesperson said: "The leaking comes from residential flats above the restaurant, which are privately managed. We understand Caribbean Scene have submitted an insurance claim to recover any damages."

Caribbean Scene in Stratford first opened its doors in 2008 and has welcomed a host of famous faces throughout its four-year reign including Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and London 2012 Women’s 100m Winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Patrick said: "There is not much that can be done by management except to keep the public informed of any changes."

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