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Restauranteur blames council for delays in repairing damaged property

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An Ethiopian restaurant has lost more than £1,000 of business due to Islington Council’s negligence, its owner has claimed.

Getenesh Gabiemichael had to turn away customers from her restaurant, Kokeb, in Roman Way, Holloway, for over a week due to a gaping hole in the ceiling.

She had noticed a damp patch on Christmas Eve but despite reporting it to the council, from whom she rents the building, nothing was done until yesterday.

When the ceiling collapsed and water began pouring from the roof last Wednesday, council contractors Kier put up a plastic sheet and told Mrs Gabiemichael she would have to wait more than a week for it to be fixed.

Mrs Gabiemichael, 52, has run the restaurant for 15 years and pays almost £4,000 in business rates and £1,400 a month as a leaseholder.

She said: “The damage is getting worse because of the weather. I’ve called the council over and over but was told the property manager is on holiday until February 16.

“I have had to turn away customers over the weekend which is the busiest time. I can’t risk anything because I have to think about health and safety and my reputation.

“I’ve had a problem since Christmas Eve and nobody came to fix it. This is an emergency for me. I am neglected and ignored while my livelihood is at stake.”

Mrs Gabiemichael has been able to open small sections of the restaurant with customers dining away from the affected area, but says the effect of the damage has significantly set her back 
financially. “I will have lost at least £1,000 in business 
before it is fixed,” she said.

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance, said: “It seems the recent very wet weather has worsened an existing 
issue with a balcony above the restaurant.

“We sent out a team on Tuesday to carry out a temporary repair.

“We have also spoken to our housing contractors who carried out a permanent repair on Thursday.”

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