A RESTAURATEUR said he has been forced to close his doors as a result of a “Brexit effect” of fewer bookings.

Andrew Cohen, owner of the highly rated Amelie and Friends in Chichester, said he was devastated the restaurant was to cease trading following a downturn in trade.

But restaurant owners in Brighton said it was too soon to say whether the referendum result had impacted business, saying the poor weather had had a greater effect on customer numbers than the vote.

Mr Cohen said: “Ten days ago we were delighted with the restaurant. It was popular, profitable and getting good reviews. We were very positive about the future, we had our best-ever month’s trade in June.

“But as soon as the vote result was announced, the number of bookings reduced to less than half the level we would expect at this time of year.

“We do not know how long the Brexit effect will last for, but because it was time to renew our five-year lease, we had to make a judgement about the future and take a very quick decision.

“We see tough times ahead and know that we will not be able to make a profit, so we had no option but to close.”

The fine dining restaurant in North Street in Chichester has not yet announced a date for closure.

Giuseppe Colasurdo, who owns Alfresco, near the i360 on Brighton seafront, said it was "too soon to tell" any effect from the vote.

He added: “For us on the seafront it’s to do with the weather not Brexit at all. The last two weeks have been really busy and we’re still taking a lot of booking for the future."

Jamie Everton-Jones, owner of 24 St George’s in Kemp Town said: “We saw an upturn when the England team went out of the Euros, because people were staying home, but as far as Brexit goes I haven’t seen any impact.

“Brighton had a quiet start to the year but business seems back on track now.”

Lee Keeler, of LangeLee’s in York Place, added: “June can be a quiet month but we haven’t seen any change because of what happened. Actually we’ve had more booking recently.

“I don’t see how people can use Brexit as an excuse.”