Drug users congregating outside a coffee shop in Preston has been blamed for putting off customers.
Owners of Town House Coffee and Brew Bar are working with Preston City Council to examine barriers new businesses face on opening.
Bernice Newton, 30, and her partner Louis Snape, 28, of the cafe in Friargate told the authority they were concerned about the drug use and also the quantity of litter dropped in the area. It comes as the council continues to examine how it welcomes new enterprises to the city.
“We are based in an area which has a bit of an image crisis,” said Bernice. “It’s quite difficult because we live in Preston and we know Preston. However, we are seeing a lot of drug problems and there’s nowhere for these people to go in the day so when they generally congregate between themselves, it’s primarily an area by the coffee shop.
“We also deal with quite a lot of anti-social behaviour outside the café. When someone is overdosing outside the coffee shop you can’t just stand by and watch it.”
Bernice says the coffee shop is popular with students from the University of Central Lancashire but she is concerned whether the drug activity outside the shop is off-putting for them.
“Some of our customers come from a really different part of the world and some of them have never seen any behaviour like it and find don’t feel quite safe and knowing that’s how they feel is quite sad.
“There’s only a drink ban up to the A59, so you are actually allowed to drink in the area. We want the ban extended.”
Bernice and Louis are now considering setting up a committee made up of Friargate shop owners to work with the council to look at how to improve the area. They are also now regularly jet washing the area outside the shop.