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'Council improvements are killing our trade'

PUBLISHED: 17:12 05 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:21 05 August 2010

l o r George Raymond, Kerry Warman,Holly Morphew,Joanna Allen, Charlotte Raymond,Nigel Hill,

Edward Matarazzo and Mehmet Shinasi

l o r George Raymond, Kerry Warman,Holly Morphew,Joanna Allen, Charlotte Raymond,Nigel Hill, Edward Matarazzo and Mehmet Shinasi

Archant

Furious traders fear for the future of their businesses after council chiefs announced plans to carry out works outside their shops, straight after enduring months of major gas works.

Bexley council workers were due to begin work this week immediately after Southern Gas completed their gas repair work on the junction of Station Road and Longlands Road, Sidcup.

Business owners have described the disruption to Station Road caused by continuing work as a “living nightmare”.

The council plan to build a zebra crossing, loading bay and short stay parking bay. However traders have said that the relentless work it is driving their businesses to the brink of closure.

Manager of Clipjoint, a hair salon on Station Road, George Raymond, said: “It’s killing our business. It’s unbelievable.

“It’s like a ghost town around this area.

“We realise the gas mains work had to be done but now the council wants to come along for 32 weeks and work on the pavement.

“We want them to do it next year to give us a chance to build our businesses up again.”

Kerry Warman, 45, who owns Leaks heating and Plumbing, which started trading a day before the roads were dug up six months ago said: “I’m really annoyed by this. It’s just ridiculous. The council don’t seem to care about our businesses.

“I am living on the border line. I was gob -smacked to find out the council were going to do this.

“The first year for any business is hard but for us it’s been terrible.”

Traders claim that during a meeting held in June, the council informed them of its plans to “improve” the area however specific details were not disclosed.

Owner of Express Inn Dry Cleaners, Mehmet Shinasi, 55, said: “All I do is open up and I’m a keeper in the shop. I loose about £400 a week. I believe I will go under. I’m hanging on by a thread at the moment.”

“We should have been asked if it was necessary.

“It may do us good in two or three years but by then it will be too late.”

Edward Matarazzo, 42, of Tile King, said: “I don’t think we’ll last a year if this carries on.”

Cabinet member for transport, Councillor Peter Craske said: “The council is as fed up with the numerous gas works that have caused disruption across Sidcup over the last three years.

“However, it is right we fit our work around the gas company’s in order to avoid the roadway being resurfaced and relaid and then dug up again a couple of months later. This also ensures maximum value for money for council taxpayers.

“Traders will be key beneficiaries of the project, as we will be providing brand new and free parking bays, something businesses have long been calling for.”

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