A WIGAN club has re-opened after a drain blockage threatened to drive it out of business.
Cafe Vogue in Wallgate was forced to bolt the doors almost a month ago when toilets in the top floor facility began to back up and overflow.
But despite significant investigations by engineers from United Utilities (UU), the exact cause of the blockage and who is legally responsible for its repair had proved to be a mystery until it was isolated to a privately owned section of the drain.
Club boss Ian Mosley said that the forced closure was “crippling” the business and calculated that closure was costing Cafe Vogue - which specialises in Northern Soul and Old Skool nights deep into the early hours - £3,000 a week.
While losing the Easter bank holiday trade, which he insists is “much busier” than Christmas, cost it three times that amount and had caused nine bar staff to be laid off.
But Ian paid tribute today to generous Little Fifteen owner and neighbour Tony Callaghan who allowed Cafe Vogue customers to use his premises’ toilets instead during the early part of the closure crisis.
Mr Mosley, whose leisure company has now disposed of The Hawk pub but also own the revived Goose Green Sports and Social Club, was increasingly desperate for a resolution to the situation which has been threatening the entire financial viability of the business.
He is now in talks with an insurance loss adjuster over a claim for compensation.
Mr Mosley said: “It’s been a total nightmare and our loyal customers are delighted that we have been able to open again because we offer something different.
“The financial losses had been mounting up because we couldn’t open and they had been threatening to cripple the business and I am in talks with the insurance about what we can do. It was frustrating because the drainage people just couldn’t find where the blockage was and until they could, we didn’t know who was responsible for putting it right.”
Extensive survey and search work from United Utilities engineers finally found the blockage on Thursday, April 9 and were able to clear it successfully and Cafe Vogue was able to open in time for the weekend.
It was on the private drain and part of the complex where the club is based.
A spokesman for United Utilities said: “It was understandable that the business owner was becoming frustrated as they had been let down twice by the private contractor who was originally engaged to clear the blockage.
“We took ownership of the problem and, although it was a lengthy and complex investigation, we finally managed to locate and clear the blockage on the private drain belonging to the building. It’s good to see that Café Vogue was able to re-open again in time for the weekend.”