A businessman who sunk £350,000 into a restaurant only for it to close six months later has warned The Broadway could become a "no go area".

In May this year Jane and Marc Linch opened the Green Owl Canteen on the Debden shopping parade.

Any hopes they had of expanding their Buckhurst Hill operation and bringing a slice of gourmet, Shoreditch inspired quality to The Broadway quickly fizzled.

After a couple of months of decent trading, customer flow began to dry up and the business began falling short of its £12,000 weekly takings target.

Last Friday the couple decided to shut for good, putting 12 people out of a job.

While conceding that he "could have done some things differently", Mr Linch feels he was not given proper support by Epping Forest District Council.

He said: "If The Broadway is going to have a fighting chance it is going to need the council to get behind it, not just stand there with its hand out waiting for money.

"In a way I was misled.

"They told me investment was going to go on, that there would be a lot of new shops coming in.

"They said they saw me as the first part of a general regeneration of the area."

Unlike the new tenants of the Langston Road shopping centre, which are enjoying a three year rent holiday, Green Owl Canteen was paying £5,000 a month in rent and business rates.

Mr Linch added: "Why didn't I get three years rent free? I brought a massive amount of investment to the area.

"Maybe the area wasn't quite ready for what we had to offer. Maybe people thought we were a bit expensive.

"It is a tough time in the sector. It's not just us. We just needed a bit more support.

"I think they really need to address the core issues of why people aren't coming to The Broadway.

"If it doesn't improve it is going to be a no go area."

Like other traders on The Broadway, Mr Linch believes the council needs to lower rates and open up the road for customer parking.

On Tuesday Eyegee opticians closed for a final time, citing rent increases as the reason why.

It follows in the footsteps of Ice Events, Save the Children and Pirates Den.

A council spokesperson said: "We work closely with all the traders at the Broadway and want to see any new business becoming successful.

"It is a shame to see the Green Owl canteen having to close, but unfortunately even well known chains across the country have had to close their stores.

“As previously stated The Broadway, when compared with national trends, is a success story. It is actually bucking the national trend with strong performance. Turnover of new shops replacing old is a natural part of any high street and we still have lots of interest in each vacancy.

“The Council has invested heavily in The Broadway. Our new retail units at the Landmark building are a sign of our confidence. Rental income from the shop units helps us to support services to our residents. With the demand for our units so strong, a very positive picture of The Broadway is emerging.

“All new businesses based in property owned by the council benefit from not having to pay rent costs for a period of time when starting up, including traders based at The Broadway.

"The tenant received not only a rent free period, but also other start up benefits too from EFDC”