A WIGAN club owner fears he could be driven out of business by a mystery drain blockage.
Cafe Vogue in Wallgate was forced to bolt the doors almost a month ago following upsetting scenes when toilets in the top floor facility began to back up and overflow.
It’s been a total nightmare and I don’t think that UU have kept me properly up to date with the situationIan Mosley
But despite significant investigations by engineers from United Utilities (UU) - which are continuing today - the exact cause of the blockage and who is legally responsible for its repair has yet to be determined.
In the meantime joint club boss Ian Mosley said that the forced closure was “crippling” the business.
He calculates that closure is costing Cafe Vogue - which specialises in Northern Soul and Old Skool nights deep into the early hours opening Friday, saturday and Sunday - £3,000 a week.
While losing the Easter bank holiday trade, which he insists is “much busier” than Christmas, will have cost it THREE TIMES that amount.
Its nine bar staff have also had to be laid off.
However today a spokeswoman for United Utilities said that it sympathised with the position Cafe Vogue now found itself in.
But it was “not yet known” whether the situation was being caused by a problem with the public sewer or a blockage within the building...which would be the responsibility of the landlord.
And the structural investigations into the integrity of the drains was continuing.
She said: “We have been trying to assist the business to find exactly where the problem is without digging through concrete and causing structural damage to the building.
“Our engineer has been keeping all the businesses in the building up to date throughout our investigations.”
Mr Mosley, whose leisure company has now disposed of The Hawk pub but also own the revived Goose Green Sports and Social Club, is increasingly desperate for a resolution to the situation.
He said that neighbouring InnTheBar clubs magnate Tony Callaghan had offered to let Cafe Vogue customers use the toilets at his own bar nearby as a stand-in. But this generous pledge wasn’t operationally feasible.
Mr Mosley said: “It’s been a total nightmare and I don’t think that UU have kept me properly up to date with the situation.
“All I have had was the odd telephone call when their engineers are going to be on site.
“But in the meantime the financial losses are mounting up because we can’t open and they are threatening to cripple the business.
“We are unable to trade and nobody can tell me why this problem has occured and just who is responsible for repairing it.
“The situation is so frustrating, and not just for me but for our customer base and the staff as well.
“I have been thinking about portable toilets for our customers in the meantime but don’t think that can really work satisfactorily.
“The whole situation is going backward and forward between United Utilities and the owners of the building.
“We knew something was seriously wrong when the flow backed up and the toilets started over flowing and coming through the ceiling of The Boulevard below.”