Surbiton businesses suffer as sewer repairs and building works hit trade (From This Is Local London)
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Surbiton businesses suffer as sewer repairs and building works hit trade
7:00am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
Shops in Surbiton are losing up to 60 per cent of trade because of a mystery sewer blockage that has caused one of the town’s major shopping streets to partially close.
Victoria Road has been closed in one direction since the beginning of October, after concrete debris was discovered in a pipe beneath the street.
Buses and cars can only travel one way, from Brighton Road up to Surbiton station, with vehicles travelling in the opposite direction being diverted.
But several traders say they have been hit hard by the closures, as shoppers avoid the area while the works are carried out.
Adhraa Botros, owner of Snappy Snaps, said she was currently working six days a week and at times was 60 per cent below her sales targets.
She said: “We might as well just close. It is a franchise and we are obligated to do some targets.
“People are trying to avoid Surbiton now. There is so much disruption.
“It is impossible to survive.”
Snappy Snaps owner Adhraa Botros with manager A. Karim Alsayegh
Another shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, added: “I wouldn’t want to come here if I was a customer. There’s no parking, lots of noise and lots of traffic.
“Business is dead. Completely dead.”
Shopper Edith Hogben from Claygate, said: “I come here quite often but I suppose I do come a bit less at the moment.
“It does put you off coming – the noise, the dust, and the buses not running.”
Several traders called for Kingston Council to reduce business rates during the road works - while others said the building of the Surbiton Plaza II was compounding the problems.
The development, opposite Sainsbury’s, is currently blocking off a section of pavement between Zizzi restaurant and Garret and Jones Hairdressers.
Pedestrians must walk in the road while several short stay parking bays have been temporarily suspended.
Ray Mustoe, owner of Regency Bookshop, said: “It’s a damn nuisance. There’s been no passing trade.
“People take one look and walk the other way.
“It’s probably costing us about £12,000 a year in turnover.
“We’ll survive, but it’s a shame the council aren’t doing anything about it.”
The construction of Surbiton Plaza II has also been blamed for a drop in trade
Steven Jones, co-owner of Garret and Jones, said: “It’s just been an absolute nightmare.
"I’d say in terms of loss of trade, we are about 50 per cent down on what we usually are.
“Local government is supposed to be supporting small businesses but we’re getting no help whatsoever.”
Surbiton Plaza II is being developed by Kingston-based CNM Estates in conjunction with Taylor Wimpey.
CNM Estates chairman Wahid Samady said: “The sewer works have absolutely nothing to do with the Surbiton Plaza II development.
“We have liaised with the council and the public and we have kept people informed of the works, which are progressing extremely well.
“I am confident this will bring a real vibrancy to this area of Surbiton once it is finished. Hopefully it will be a short term pain for a long term gain.”
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