The owner of an award-winning restaurant has blamed traffic problems in Preston city centre for its shock closure.
Food lovers across across Lancashire were left stunned as the popular Duk-Pond in Cross Street confirmed it had closed.
Footfall had been damaged due to the traffic issues and as a small independent it was too much for me.Andrea Mellon
The renowned tapas restaurant was run by Andrea Mellon. She said: “It was a difficult and distressing decision but one I had to make.
“Footfall had been damaged due to the traffic issues and as a small independent it was too much for me.”
It comes after more than a year of traffic chaos in the city centre after Fishergate was dug up to bring in a controversial new “shared space” scheme. It led to months of road closures and diversions on surrounding streets.
Earlier in the day Andrea tweeted: “It is with enormous sadness yet with pride and admiration for my team, customers and support network, I must advise you dukpond is now closed.”
Preston Business Improvement District tweeted that Duk-Pond would be sorely missed in the city.
Duk-Pond later tweeted “I‘m overwhelmed with all your messages ... thank you all so so very much.”
It is understood that Duk-Pond’s Winedown venue in Preston and its Chorley restaurant and deli will remain open.
Andrea added last night: “The square is a poignant part of Preston’s heritage and BID and Winckley Square work hard to facilitate trade and awareness...
“I can only see good things for the area, which is such a shame I won’t be there.
“You can only thank my customers for their patronage and it’s been a pleasure to be part of Preston, the guild and Lancashire for so long ... it’s a sad day.”
Customers were stunned at to hear of the award-winning restaurant’s closure.
Olivia Millington tweeted: “Thank you for so so so many great meals over the years. Preston won’t be the same without your restaurant.”
Not Lucy said: “I’m absolutely gutted that @dukpond has closed we celebrated our wedding there last year and the staff and food were amazing.“
Another said: “I’m gutted to here that @dukpond has closed. Always been one of my favourite places & a rare place great for veggies.
Lottie’s bridal said: “such sad news – always such delicious food and fab environment.”
Andrea Wignall said: “Very, very sad news. Preston will not be the same without you
Preston BID said in a tweet: “We’ll miss you, as will the city. We hope to see you still, and if there’s anything, you know where we are.”
From humble beginnings, Duk was born in a deserted cellar lovingly restored into a quirky bodega on Lancaster Road, Preston, in 2006.
That was quickly followed with a second venue “Pond” on Cannon Street in 2008.
Duk and Pond soon became one of the most sought- after restaurant venues in the North West, winning numerous awards.
Duk and Pond were merged into a much larger building on Cross Street, Preston in 2011.
Duk-Pond’s Winedown wine bar in Preston is now a firm favourite
And Duk-Pond Chorley in Cleveland Stand operates as a bring-your-own alcohol venue.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is sad news indeed. We worked with Andrea Mellon over a number of years and we found her to be a true professional with a passion and commitment to the City Centre.
“Duk-Pond was a popular restaurant with an enviable reputation for quality. It must have been a very difficult decision to take as Andrea put her heart and soul into making it a success over the past ten years.