Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Traders Close to Market Place Say Takings Are Down

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Traders Close to Market Place Say Takings Are Down

Article excerpt

Byline: KALI LINDSAY Reporter

TRADERS in a County Durham town claim they have seen business plummet since work on a flood prevention scheme started.

Work on the PS6m scheme in Chesterle-Street Market Place started in March, with Durham County Council saying the project will "breathe new life" into the town centre.

But business owners on North Burns - which sits directly opposite the works -said they have seen a drop in footfall since the construction team moved in.

Business bosses said removing the free parking, blocking access from one side of the street to the other, and a large fencing blocking the street from view have contributed to the issue.

But the local authority has said that despite inevitable disruption, the longterm benefits will be significant and the scheme is progressing well.

Steve Neville, who has run Custom Vapez for the last six years, said profits have dramatically dropped and is now three months behind with his rent.

He said: "My profits are down by half. I have had my accountant look at my books and they were quite consistent. In January and February they were fine, then in March when the work started they just plummeted. I do have the fear that I will have to close after Christmas.

"People can't cross over the street either. The big fence and work, it looks like there is nothing here."

Steve said the council should be doing more and would like to see compensation for the loss of trade.

He said: "They said they had put up signs, but it is a small sign on the fencing and opposite us, where people won't see. We are thinking of starting a petition and asking the council for compensation."

Ange Hope, 33, decided to opened 'Ange's Barber' on the street earlier this year because of the free parking and footfall in the town centre.

She said: "It is disgraceful. There is no footfall. They took the free parking away from us and never asked.

"You used to get one hour free, no return and people would stop for the shops. …

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