Barnes restaurant says Hammersmith Bridge closure killed business

A popular family restaurant in Barnes says it shut down because of the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, which made it too difficult for customers to visit.

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Annie’s, on White Hart Lane, had been experiencing a decline in business after Rick Stein opened a restaurant nearby, but staff said the closure of Hammersmith Bridge “was the final nail in the coffin.”

Teddy Kleindienst, Operations Manager at the main branch of Annie’s on Strand on the Green in Chiswick said business declined “literally overnight” after the closure of the bridge.

“It was obvious because now a huge amount of traffic goes the other way,” he said.

“Then it was like, OK, we’ll need to call it a day and we shut down pretty much from then.

“It’s not like Hammersmith bridge is the reason why everything ended altogether, but it was like the final nail in the coffin really.

“There were of course negotiations about that before, but we weren’t really intending on closing. But with that on top, when you’re struggling with whether you keep going or not, and then there’s another thing in your way, you’re like OK, I give up.”

Annie’s had been a fixture on White Hart Lane for 18 years and “had a great reputation” according to staff.

However, Mr Kleindienst says despite the closure some loyal customers now make the journey to the original Chiswick branch for the food.

“We actually had a few people who came to Chiswick, luckily, who stayed loyal with us. They say ‘it’s an inconvenience for us now to go round to get to Barnes, so it’s pretty much the same distance if we just come to Chiswick. It’s more on our way then.”

A spokesperson at Hammersmith and Fulham Council said: “Hammersmith Bridge was closed to motor vehicles to protect public safety after we discovered long-standing corrosion in critical parts of the suspension structure – something that had occurred over decades but was only identified by our comprehensive structural integrity review undertaken in the last few years. We’re working closely with TfL to fully restore the 132-year-old structure.

“It’s always sad to see a popular local business close, but Annie’s is almost two miles away from the bridge, so unlikely to have benefited from the extra footfall the closure created in Castelnau.”

The original Annie’s in Chiswick will be celebrating its 20th birthday this December.

The sister venues Rock and Rose in Richmond and Little Bird branches in Battersea and Chiswick remain open as usual.

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