Greenwich Conservative Councillors say urgent action must be taken to support Eltham High Street as businesses “struggle to cope” during ongoing regeneration work.

Businesses say they have suffered drops in footfall and profit during the 18-month improvement works, which has seen one café halve their daily takings.

Another business, Café SE9, has seen their minimum daily take drop by 40 per cent and leaving the owner to fall behind on their rent.

Lesley Alkaner-Russell, the owner of Café SE9 in the Eltham Arcade, said: “For me a 40 per cent reduction in takings has resulted in me for the first time in six years of trading falling behind in my rent payments to the landlord and struggling to pay my business rates. 

“Even shops which have been here years have never seen a fall in business like this and I'm desperate for the Council to help us as otherwise there will be no shops left in Eltham High Street by the time the work finishes."

Hundreds of business owners have signed a petition calling on Greenwich Council to intervene.

In a meeting with Eltham North Councillor Spencer Drury, The White Hart pub said they had experienced a decline of £2,500 in year on year takings for the week starting June 13.

Meanwhile Coffee Town in Eltham Arcade reported that their takings have “at least halved”, leading to them having to lay off a member of staff and miss their business rate payment for June.

Footfall to the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice Shop has reportedly dropped by 1,000 compared to the same quarter last year.

Cllr Drury said: “It is heart-breaking to hear that these works – which are intended to bring more shoppers to the high street – are having such a devastating effect in the shorter term. 

“I really fear for what will happen if Greenwich Council does not do something to help, and do something to help very quickly indeed.”

Cllr Drury and Eltham south Councillor Matt Clare will propose a series of emergency measures, including free parking, advertising campaigns and a business rate exemption, at a full council meeting on Wednesday June 29.

News Shopper have contacted Greenwich Council for a comment.