‘We are still here and open’

Karen Scrimshaw from Marilyn and Melrose and Margaret-Anne High from Specially For You have had their businesses affected by the closure of Bow Alley. Ref: JCNG 110713bow1
Karen Scrimshaw from Marilyn and Melrose and Margaret-Anne High from Specially For You have had their businesses affected by the closure of Bow Alley. Ref: JCNG 110713bow1
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Huge concerns have been voiced about the closure of an Alnwick footpath.

Bow Alley, which leads from Narrowgate through to Greenwell Road, has been closed off because of structural concerns with the building that houses Oscar’s Bar.

Karen Scrimshaw from Marilyn and Melrose and Margaret-Anne High from Specially For You have had their businesses affected by the closure of Bow Alley. Ref: JCNG 110713bow5

Karen Scrimshaw from Marilyn and Melrose and Margaret-Anne High from Specially For You have had their businesses affected by the closure of Bow Alley. Ref: JCNG 110713bow5

But it means that the two businesses on the street, Marilyn and Monroe and Specially For You, are seeing a huge decrease in footfall.

Both shops receive the majority of their customers from the Narrowgate end of the street and with the ‘footpath closed’ sign and barriers up for an indefinite period, owners are concerned about the future.

The street has been closed because of a bulge in the side of Oscar’s Bar, which shows the wall coming away from the windows on both floors.

Karen Scrimshaw, owner of Marilyn and Monroe, which has only been open for 12 months, said: “For health and safety reasons highways have shut it off, but 99 per cent of our customers come to us that way. The signage on Greenwell Road is non-existent and people don’t know we are there. People think it is a dead end.

“We have put it on our Facebook page and fortunately Mick Ashurst and Amar Roopra who own the Black Swan have said that customers can go through the pub to get to us.

“If people see the road closed off they won’t bother trying to get to us. Not many people are going to walk all the way back round.”

The businesses are owned by Northumberland Estates and Karen said that they have been offered one of the Estates’ empty properties on Narrowgate, but that would mean paying two lots of rates.

Margaret Anne High, owner of Specially For You, has been in business on Bow Alley for 12 years.

She said: “We don’t know what is going to happen with the building.

“It is such an unfortunate time of year, this is our busiest time and we’re cut off. That is the biggest problem.”

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “Due to a structural problem with Oscar’s building, the council has closed Bow Alley for safety reasons. “