‘Building work has hit business’, says Norwich shop owner

The shop on Timberhill, where Dorothy Thompson runs her business, where the rendering was damaged during construction work next door.
Photo by Simon Finlay. The shop on Timberhill, where Dorothy Thompson runs her business, where the rendering was damaged during construction work next door. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Mark Shields mark.shields@archant.co.uk
Thursday, February 13, 2014
9:22 AM

A Norwich shop owner says that nearby construction work has hit her trade – and claims the building work damaged the wall of her business.

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Dorothy Thompson says machinery being used in the renovation of Westlegate Tower knocked rendering from the side of her children’s clothing shop, Coccolino, in Timberhill.

Graham Construction, which is carrying out the work, has declined to comment but Mrs Thompson says the damage is just the latest blow to the business, and that the disruption from months of building work has seen her takings drop by up to 20%.

Vehicles parking near her shop, others making deliveries and mud and dirt being walked in by customers are just some of the problems she said she has had to put up with since work started.

“I’ve never known a business to be so directly affected,” she said.

“In these challenging financial times, the high street still needs a lot of help. People have changed how they shop and if you are running a shop it needs to be seen.”

The shop wall was damaged at around 3pm on Wednesday, and Mrs Thompson said the noise sent a customer running from the shop.

“She thought we had a sinkhole or something. We couldn’t see what it was because it was on the side of the building,” she said.

Mrs Thompson praised the workmen on the site, and said they had been approachable and considerate in their work, but said she could not have foreseen the impact the work would have had when she moved in 18 months ago from premises in Upper St Giles.

“This was meant to move me closer to John Lewis, closer to the malls, and make it easier for some of my customers.

“The first few months it was really good but it seems that it has been related to the building works.”

Although Graham Construction refused to comment, it is understood they are in discussion with the property owner.

Ian Fox, of Westlegate owners FW Properties, said he sympathised with traders’ concerns, but said it was “short-term pain for long-term gain” from the improvements being made.

Other Timberhill businesses said the disruption was worthwhile for the ultimate benefit from the new flats being built. Raymond Joscelyne, of Design House Norwich, said: “We couldn’t have asked for a more considerate approach. I think it will be good for the area.”

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