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Congestion charge will be devastating for west London

29 June 2006

Hotels and restaurants in Kensington and Chelsea must fight against the congestion charge extension or face financial ruin, a leading campaigner has warned.

West Londoner and hospitality industry consultant David Tarsh warned that hotels and restaurants in the area faced losing £100m revenue a year unless they rallied against the proposed congestion charge extension.

A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research also suggested the impact on the hospitality sector would result in up to 2,730 job losses.

"The idea is a lemon and it sucks," Tarsh added. "The local economy will be severely squeezed and thousands of people's livelihoods will be sacrificed for an idea that is totally flawed."

Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, agreed with Tarsh that the extension would be a severe blow to the industry, but added there was nothing more the association could do.

He explained: "The whole consultation process was a sham. The two public consultations were both expensive and extensive and we put forward our members' views - they were vehemently against it. But despite overwhelming public opposition, the mayor is going ahead."

Antony Worrall-Thompson, whose Notting Grill restaurant in W11 will be in the new congestion zone, said: "It is just another backhanded way to introduce a tax that will make London a ghost town.

"It will affect our staff, many of whom drive in, and I'm sure our business will be affected," he added. "Surely the whole point of having a mayor was to invigorate London, not damage its tourism."

By Emily Manson

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