A PENARTH man says he is confident his new creation can help businesses in the town navigate the financial challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

With businesses struggling to maintain profits with the challenges of social distancing and operating with PPE, businessman Mark Faulknall says he is ready to support local hospitality businesses by helping them to increase trading capacity while maintaining social distancing.

Owner of Greenwood Louvre for more than 20 years – specialising in creating work-friendly outdoor garden features among other things – Mr Faulknall says he has identified that specifically manufactured pergolas present cafes, bars and restaurants with an opportunity to create weatherproof and comfortable structures that enable alfresco wining and dining regardless of the weather.

“I live in Penarth and have seen first-hand the devastation that Covid closures are having on our local hospitality industry,” he said.

Penarth Times: Mark and TannyMark and Tanny

“I spoke to a lot of the traders when we came out of lockdown, and it became clear that while the weather was fine, trading outdoors was an ideal solution for increasing capacity.

“As the weather gets colder, the nights darker, and restrictions tighter, I realised that this would not be as feasible or attractive to customers – and looked at how we could diversify the technology we had in our commercial portfolio, to meet the needs of Welsh hospitality businesses."

As a temporary structure, most pergolas do not require planning permission – which is why he believes the idea could be a "lifeline" for independent traders through winter.

He added: “Nobody could have predicted what Covid has done to our local businesses. But we can try and support them in every way we can.

“I’m hoping Performance Pergolas goes some way towards providing a practical solution when it comes to maintaining hospitality trading outdoors.”

He has already had some take up on the pergolas, including from The Old Custom House.

Director at The Old Custom House Tanny Martinez said: “The concept couldn’t have come at a better time for us.

"2020 has been undeniably hard and we need every chance we can to bounce back – and the introduction of Performance Pergolas will help us to do this by increasing seating capacity, safely.

"We’re excited to be working with Mark and to pioneer the use of these temporary structures for hospitality in South Wales.”

 To learn more visit www.performancepergolas.com.