Florence Pugh’s father blasts council’s low traffic neighbourhood scheme as his Oxford bar is re-possessed
The father of Hollywood star Florence Pugh has claimed his bar has been re-possessed as he launches his latest attack on Oxford’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme.
Clinton Pugh, who owns a string of bars and restaurants all on bohemian Cowley Road, said Café Tarifa has been re-possessed – and blames it on the East Oxford LTN which was introduced in May 2022.
He said staff refused to work on Cowley Road as it now takes four times as long to get to work and the street has lost 195 car parking spaces to make way for cycle lanes.
Before it was re-possessed, Mr Pugh, 64, said he was in the process of selling the lease and received an offer of £100,000 but the LTN is off-putting for both staff and customers.
His daughter Florence, 27, starred in Little Women, Black Widow and Don’t Worry Darling alongside Harry Styles – and has helped him out financially to keep the popular eateries afloat.
Mr Pugh is also trying to sell neighbouring Café CoCo, on the same road, and has another bar, Kazbar.
Another shop he owned the lease for, ‘Indigo Natural Living’, opened in 2008 but was forced to closed in July 2022.
Mr Pugh has been a vocal critic of Oxfords LTNs – where bollards and planters are used on residential streets to stop ‘rat-runs’ for cars – and in March this year he said they have sparked a drastic decline in footfall for each of his three establishments.
These include Café CoCo, where actor Florence, and her siblings including actor and musician Toby Sebastian, used to serve customers when growing up.
One 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 he no longer wants to rely on handouts from his daughter, adding that he will probably end up working for the rest of his life to try and balance the books.
Sitting in Café CoCo, which first opened in 1992, he said: ‘I am not going to get my pension out of it. I am going to have to work probably for the rest of my life. I can’t guarantee my family can support me – why should I have someone else pay for me, get me out?’
He said he was trying to sell Café Coco but promised to continue ‘fighting for the other small businesses owners’.
‘Thirty-one years sitting in this restaurant, I remember my children coming up, sitting at the bar, coming in on a Friday afternoon with other families, with Florence, it’s very upsetting.’
He branded Oxfordshire County Council ‘bullies’ over their controversial attempts to calm congestion and traffic pollution, and claimed chiefs have tried to ‘silence’ those who disagree with the 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.