A restaurant that has closed after almost two decades has blamed the council for causing "damage" to trade.

Dunes Bar and Restaurant in Camber shut its doors last Sunday for the final time.

The owners, who announced the closure earlier this month, said that the council's decision for a flat daily rate in car parks last summer was partly responsible for "killing the summer day trade", which they said had "devastating" long-term effects on them.

Rother District Council said that this was part of a trial to stop "severe congestion" in the village and that the flat rate will not return this year.

A spokesman for Dunes Bar and Restaurant said: "It’s with great sadness and a heavy heart that after 19 years of trading we’re announcing the closure of the Dunes Bar and Restaurant.

"We would like to thank all our customers and everyone that’s dined with us over the years for your support, all the positive feedback and the nice people we met over the years, it’s been greatly appreciated.

"Times are tough right now for hospitality, none more so then in a small seaside village that depends heavily on tourism, day trippers and holiday makers.

"So with with that in mind I have to mention the damage that Rother District Council done to Camber last year with their exorbitant fixed rate parking policy.

"This was imposed to purposely deter cars from entering our end of the village, affectively killing the summer day trade by denying us the footfall the businesses desperately needs in a short season.

"It crippled the summer trade and has proved devastating long term.

"Couple that with the further devastating loss of Pontins holiday park and the years of lucrative business it brought to the local economy, throw in the now extortionate energy tariffs for licensed businesses, then it was hard to see a way forward.

"Let’s hope this summer the sun shines and day trippers visit Camber again, the parking is now an hourly rate so maybe the council learned.

"It’s important to support local businesses wherever they are. It’s an age old cliché but ‘use it or lose it’."

A Rother District Council spokesperson said: “We are sorry to learn that Mr Hyatt is closing his business on Old Lydd Road.

“During the summer months, thousands of people travel to the beach at Camber causing severe congestion in the village and creating a challenge for residents, public transport and emergency response vehicles.

"As part of our ongoing efforts to find a solution, we trialled a flat daily rate in two of Camber’s more popular car parks during the 2023 season to encourage those visitors staying just a few hours to avoid entering the centre of the village.  

“As planned, the flat daily rate in central and Old Lydd Road car parks ended at the conclusion of the trial and, following careful consideration of data and feedback, the decision was made not to reintroduce it next season.

“We continue to work with partners to identify ways to reduce congestion around Camber during the summer months, and address the issues faced by residents.”