'Bridge Street roadworks are costing me' says Northampton hairdresser

The roadworks in Bridge Street
The roadworks in Bridge Street

A Northampton business owner has written to the council because he is concerned the roadworks outside his shop are losing him money.

Peter Lumbis, owner of CropShop hairdresser's on Bridge Street, has contacted Northampton Borough Council, the town centre manager, Northampton BID and ex-MP Brian Binley for advice, but he said none of them offered anything constructive.

The pavement outside CropShop

The pavement outside CropShop

The gas company carrying out the work, which affects both sides of the street and has seen temporary traffic lights installed, has said it should be complete within a seven-week timescale.

"My business relies on easy access to the shop," said Mr Lumbris in his letter, in reference to the largely closed-off pavement outside CropShop.

"I suffered a severe decline in trade when Fat Cats was damaged by fire and the street was closed to two-way traffic for a long period.

"Scaffolding was erected at the time together with the dark, intimidating enclosed walkway and, after five years, it is still there. The scaffolding and other works block the view of the businesses in the street from the town centre."

The Royal Bengal restaurant shut its doors earlier this year, while White & Bishops closed back in 2013, and Mr Lumbris believes these were linked to the condition of the street, which he calls "deplorable."

"I accept that, in the long term, developments such as the removal of Fat Cats and the building of a new hotel and shops will have a positive effect on the area," said Mr Lumbris.

"However, in the short-term, the situation is having a serious impact on my business and I am finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

"After operating a hairdressing business for more than 50 years in Bridge Street it is disheartening to see factors beyond my control destroying everything I have built up."

In his appeal for help from the council, the CropShop owner requested a reduction in business rates, particularly because he feels the reduced charges and subsidies received by newly established town centre businesses serves only helps his competitors.

He also called for the gas company's progress to be monitored and penalties applied should the work not be completed on time, or should excessive disruption be caused.