Businesses counting the cost of Orford roadworks

From left are Joe Bristow, Steve Harris and Susan Lister

From left are Joe Bristow, Steve Harris and Susan Lister

First published in News

BUSINESSES say they have been left counting the cost after roadworks saw profits nosedive.

Bosses say the road signs advising motorists that Norris Street was closed were misleading as only a section of the road was actually closed.

Steve Harris, who runs Harris’ House sandwich shop, says he was not notified beforehand the work would start last Monday.

He said: “I had not had anyone tell me so it was a surprise when the roadworks turned up.

“From the Monday there was a significant reduction in numbers. Monday is my busiest day and normally expect around 80 customers but last week I only had four.

“Businesses on the road lost almost 100 per cent footfall because they put road closed signs up in the area and people have been seeing the road closed sign and thought not to bother and go somewhere else.

“We have lost a lot of money in that week of the roadworks.

“The road wasn’t closed fully, just part of it and it was still accessible.

“It was very unclear and very confusing.”

The works ran from Monday to Friday but Steve believes more should have been done to help businesses such as extra signage saying businesses were still open as usual.

“We get foot traffic and people driving past and that’s 80 per cent of my trade.”

The sandwich shop opened up in November, but Steve says other businesses such as those on Battersby Lane where work has been running for longer, are being left thousands of pounds out of pocket.

“Business this week has been very slow, I have lost all momentum.

"As a start-up business I have been putting in a lot of hard work to build things up,” he added. “It’s going to take weeks to get it back up to its previous levels.”

A council spokesman said: “The council tries hard to ensure road closure information is communicated to a wide audience.

"As part of road works we maintain full access to businesses and residents wherever possible.

"The council apologises for any inconvenience caused and works finished on Friday.”

Comments (3)

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10:42am Fri 28 Feb 14

HulkHogan says...

While we can have sympathy for affected business, road closures, fully or partially, will happen. If the work needed to be complete, then so be it. Otherwise there would be more people complaining that the council was not completing road works.

It could be argued that the council could have done more, but what did the owner do from the Monday, once realising the situation? I am not wanting to knock people here, but what is the point of this story. If you have a business on a road that closes you will be affected. Simple. It is your responsibility to ensure risk assessment and have plans in place. I am not sure it is the council’s role to advertise if a business is open or not.

I expect some negative replies to my comments, but this country is turning into one which blames someone else and expect someone else to put things right. The only issue here, as far as I can make out, is that the closure signs did not give a true reflection of the level of closure. This however, did not prevent the business taking its own steps to advertise, nor did it prevent customers from confirming if the business was still open.
While we can have sympathy for affected business, road closures, fully or partially, will happen. If the work needed to be complete, then so be it. Otherwise there would be more people complaining that the council was not completing road works. It could be argued that the council could have done more, but what did the owner do from the Monday, once realising the situation? I am not wanting to knock people here, but what is the point of this story. If you have a business on a road that closes you will be affected. Simple. It is your responsibility to ensure risk assessment and have plans in place. I am not sure it is the council’s role to advertise if a business is open or not. I expect some negative replies to my comments, but this country is turning into one which blames someone else and expect someone else to put things right. The only issue here, as far as I can make out, is that the closure signs did not give a true reflection of the level of closure. This however, did not prevent the business taking its own steps to advertise, nor did it prevent customers from confirming if the business was still open. HulkHogan
  • Score: 7

10:59am Fri 28 Feb 14

MikeJT says...

Any business which suffers as a result of roadworks, utility company repairs etc are allowed to seek compensation from the companies concerned. They will be asked to demonstrate turnover for a period leading up to the works being done, during the period and afterwards.

After this the compensation is usually worked out on a straightforward mathematical average. Its simple.
Any business which suffers as a result of roadworks, utility company repairs etc are allowed to seek compensation from the companies concerned. They will be asked to demonstrate turnover for a period leading up to the works being done, during the period and afterwards. After this the compensation is usually worked out on a straightforward mathematical average. Its simple. MikeJT
  • Score: -2

11:14am Fri 28 Feb 14

HulkHogan says...

MikeJT wrote:
Any business which suffers as a result of roadworks, utility company repairs etc are allowed to seek compensation from the companies concerned. They will be asked to demonstrate turnover for a period leading up to the works being done, during the period and afterwards. After this the compensation is usually worked out on a straightforward mathematical average. Its simple.
I work in some way connected to the energy industry and deal with network companies, so I am aware that business can claim loss of earnings. As far as I was aware, this does not apply to just road closures. This is something that the business can claim within its insurance, if specified. Not sure of the age, but I have dug up the following:

“Relating specifically to road works, where a highway authority (as opposed to a utility) carries out works under a statutory power or duty and performs these properly, there will not at law be any liability on the authority for any loss of business. Owners of businesses have no right in law to a maintained level of passing trade. Temporary or permanent reductions in traffic flow are considered to be part of the risks of running a business. The owner of a business would only have a claim against the highway authority for road works (the Secretary of State in the case of trunk roads and the county council or unitary authority in the case of local roads) if the loss of business was a result of negligent action by the highway authority or contractor.”

I accept I may be wrong, as this is not my area of work.
[quote][p][bold]MikeJT[/bold] wrote: Any business which suffers as a result of roadworks, utility company repairs etc are allowed to seek compensation from the companies concerned. They will be asked to demonstrate turnover for a period leading up to the works being done, during the period and afterwards. After this the compensation is usually worked out on a straightforward mathematical average. Its simple.[/p][/quote]I work in some way connected to the energy industry and deal with network companies, so I am aware that business can claim loss of earnings. As far as I was aware, this does not apply to just road closures. This is something that the business can claim within its insurance, if specified. Not sure of the age, but I have dug up the following: “Relating specifically to road works, where a highway authority (as opposed to a utility) carries out works under a statutory power or duty and performs these properly, there will not at law be any liability on the authority for any loss of business. Owners of businesses have no right in law to a maintained level of passing trade. Temporary or permanent reductions in traffic flow are considered to be part of the risks of running a business. The owner of a business would only have a claim against the highway authority for road works (the Secretary of State in the case of trunk roads and the county council or unitary authority in the case of local roads) if the loss of business was a result of negligent action by the highway authority or contractor.” I accept I may be wrong, as this is not my area of work. HulkHogan
  • Score: 5

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