‘Shoddy’ street works are costing small businesses thousands of pounds a week, a report by the Local Government Association has warned.
The report found utility companies were responsible for two million street works a year. However, 17% of these had been poorly resurfaced and had to be redone by local councils – causing double disruption for local traders.
A survey on high street businesses conducted for the report in conjunction with the Association of Convenience Stores also found 57% of shops had had street works nearby in the past three years, 72% said they had been negatively affected by the works, and 31% said the works had reduced footfall by at least a quarter.
“Losing potential customers and thousands of pounds a week can devastate a small trader’s balance sheet, making the difference between trading another year or going to the wall,” said Peter Box, chair of the LGA’s economy and transport board.
“The whole sector needs to sit down together and discuss how we can work together and make sure we keep street works disruption to an absolute minimum.”
ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan added: “We welcome this new research and the LGA’s initiative in looking at this issue. Street works can cost convenience retailers dearly by obstructing access and footfall to their business and undermining regular passing trade.
“More has to be done to ensure that business are consulted about upcoming street works and where necessary compensated if they over run.”