Traders Fury Over Roadworks
11 October 2013, 17:41
Traders in Hemel Hempstead have been telling Heart they're struggling to survive after 22 weeks of roadworks.
Work to turn the Old Town into a one-way street with on-road parking and a taxi rank started at the end of June.
Barry Garvin runs Fretz Music Shop and says turnover is down 40% and he now cant afford to re-stock the shop for Christmas.
To make matters worse, Mr Garvin has been told work will now over run by at least four weeks
It was due to finish at the end of the month but down to a delay in contractors getting the materials to do the work, it will now continue until the end of November.
Opposite Fretz Music Shop is Make Me A Cakey run by Simon Humphrey, he says they're surviving off their online sales now:
"It could have a very significant impact on the future of the High Street, we do a lot online so our trading is good but what’s the point of being on the High Street if there's no other shops here?
"There’s a lot of people who are close to going bankrupt and they're really struggling up here"
Councillor Andrew Williams, Leader of Dacorum Borough Council says:
"We are taking this very seriously and have been listening to the Old Town businesses. We are working together with the businesses and our business partners to come up with the best solution for everyone.
"We are doing our utmost to complete the works as soon as we can and to support our Old Town businesses. We are confident that the completed improvements will have a long term benefit for the businesses."
Meetings have been taking place with traders, contractors and the council
Here, traders complained about the roadwork’s over-running when they've seen workman not working.
Barry Garvin told Heart workers were sat in machinery reading the paper, he claims he watched one man do nothing for five hours.
Hertfordshire County Council have responded to these claims by installing CCTV cameras to monitor the work progress.
Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways, said:
"The CCTV, which has been installed with full agreement with Jacksons, will enable the progress of the work to be monitored and complaints investigated and managed should that be necessary. This is not covert surveillance as the workforce on site is fully aware of the system.
"Camera feeds will not be routinely monitored on a live basis but only viewed if there is an issue which needs investigating. Recordings of the camera feeds will be supplied daily to Jacksons. The CCTV operates independently of the town's system but uses its fixings and power. It is only viewing an area that is already covered by the existing system."