Florence Pugh’s father destroys the low-traffic neighborhood plan while his Oxford bar is repossessed
Hollywood star Florence Pugh’s father has claimed his bar has been repossessed as he launches his latest assault on Oxford’s Low Traffic Neighborhood scheme.
Clinton Pugh, owner of a string of bars and restaurants on bohemian Cowley Road, said Café Tarifa has repossessed – and blames the East Oxford LTN which launched in May 2022.
He said staff refused to work on Cowley Road because it now takes four times as long to get to work and the street has lost 195 parking spaces to make way for cycleways.
Before repossession, Pugh, 64, said he was in the process of selling the lease and had received a £100,000 offer, but the LTN is off-putting to both staff and customers.
His daughter Florence, 27, has starred alongside Harry Styles in Little Women, Black Widow and Don’t Worry Darling – and has helped him financially to keep the popular eateries afloat.
Clinton Pugh (left), father of Hollywood star Florence Pugh (right), has claimed his bar has been repossessed as he launches his latest assault on Oxford’s LTN scheme
The Hollywood actress’ father has been running restaurants in the city for three decades
Pictured is Mr Pugh’s Café CoCo, which he is trying to sell because of the East Oxford LTN
Mr. Pugh is also trying to sell the neighboring Café CoCo, on the same road, and has another bar, Kazbar.
Another store he had the lease for, ‘Indigo Natural Living’, opened in 2008 but had to close in July 2022.
Mr Pugh has been an outspoken critic of Oxford’s LTNs – where bollards and planters are used on residential streets to stop car ‘rat-runs’ – and in March this year said they have led to a drastic drop in numbers visitors for each of its three branches.
These include Café CoCo, where actor Florence, and her siblings, including actor and musician Toby Sebastian, used to serve customers when they were growing up.
A message written on the wall by Florence in 2019 reads: ‘Café CoCo, 19 years later and I’m still eating Chorizo pizzas at the bar.
“Thank you for the hangover cures and the never-ending love and affection. All my kisses Florence Pugh, proud daughter of the owner.”
Mr Pugh told MailOnline in March that he no longer wants to rely on handouts from his daughter, adding that he will probably have to work for the rest of his life to try and balance the accounts.
Sitting at Café CoCo, which first opened in 1992, he said, “I’m not going to retire from it. I will probably have to work for the rest of my life. I can’t guarantee my family can support me – why should I let someone else pay for me, get me out?’
Pictured is Hollywood star Florence Pugh eating at Café Coco, her father’s now-marketed establishment
On the wall is a message written by Florence in 2019: ‘Café CoCo, 19 years later and I’m still eating Chorizo pizzas at the bar’
Pictured are Scarlett Johansson (left) and Florence Pugh (right) in Marvel’s Black Widow
He said he was trying to sell Café Coco, but vowed to keep “fighting for the other small business owners.”
“Thirty-one years sitting in this restaurant, I remember my kids coming up, sitting at the bar, coming in on a Friday afternoon with other families, with Florence, it’s very disturbing.”
He labeled Oxfordshire County Council as ‘bullies’ for their controversial efforts to reduce congestion and traffic pollution, and claimed leaders have tried to silence those who disagree with policies.
Mr Pugh said: ‘The LTNs are responsible for staffing issues as staff refuse to work on Cowley Road as they find it extremely difficult to get to and from work.
‘My employees tell me that all journeys take about four times as long.
“The provincial council has closed roads without thinking it through and they have not bothered to help businesses.
“I was hoping to sell my business before the pandemic, and the council made it very difficult.”
Mr Pugh has said a lack of support from the county council means he was forced to put Café Coco back on the market.
An Oxfordshire County Council said: ‘LTNs are part of the County Council’s local transport and connectivity scheme, designed to improve travel and transport.
“They are intended to make residential streets safer and more comfortable for walking, cycling and cycling.
‘As part of Oxfordshire’s central travel plan, they are designed to work in tandem with other measures to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
“The LTNs already in Oxford will continue to be monitored by the council.
“The East Oxford LTNs area is still in a trial period and is subject to a decision by the provincial cabinet later this year.
‘While the online consultation on the East Oxford LTNs is now closed, we encourage people to continue to share their feedback with us.
This feedback contributes to the reporting that will be submitted to the cabinet for decision-making.
“We currently have no plans to introduce any more LTN areas in Oxford, but we continue to closely monitor the overall situation to understand travel and traffic behavior in the city.”
Oxford residents have been heavily critical of the city’s LTNs since they were installed in May 2022.
In April this year, a traffic bollard was sawed off overnight by vigilantes after wooden designs replaced plastic bollards that had been smashed more than 20 times in the running line.
Oxfordshire County Council has spent thousands of pounds to replace the controversial traffic bollards in its LTN scheme after irate residents repeatedly damaged them.
Bollards in the city have been knocked over, pulled out of the ground and even set on fire since their installation.