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'It was a struggle to pay staff' - businesses slam roadworks misery

PUBLISHED: 07:52 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 08 November 2019

Olsiana Cela, 32, owner of the Bay Hair salon on Earlham Road. She said business has been negatively impacted after roadworks were started on the junction next to her business. Picture: Sophie Wyllie

Olsiana Cela, 32, owner of the Bay Hair salon on Earlham Road. She said business has been negatively impacted after roadworks were started on the junction next to her business. Picture: Sophie Wyllie

Sophie Wyllie

Angry business owners are demanding compensation after losing out on trade after weeks of roadworks.

Jamal Utting, 24, who is a bar supervisor at the Workshop cafe on Earlham Road, where there are currently roadworks in place. Picture: Sophie WyllieJamal Utting, 24, who is a bar supervisor at the Workshop cafe on Earlham Road, where there are currently roadworks in place. Picture: Sophie Wyllie

The work on Earlham Road in Norwich to widen the pavements for cyclists and pedestrians, started on September 9 and was due to finish on November 3 but has overrun.

Costing £1.6m, the Transport for Norwich project will also see a new two-way traffic light crossing put in at the Heigham Road/West Pottergate junction.

But owners of the Workshop café and the Bay Hair salon next to the junction have said they have lost a lot of business because of the work.

Olsiana Cela, 32, owner of Bay Hair, said: "Most business here is walk-in trade. It isn't good at all at the moment. What the council should do is compensate the businesses around here."

The businesses on Earlham Road, Norwich, who claim they have been impacted by weeks of roadworks. Picture: Sophie WyllieThe businesses on Earlham Road, Norwich, who claim they have been impacted by weeks of roadworks. Picture: Sophie Wyllie

She said a lot of customers were also not coming because of problems finding a parking space due to the roadworks.

Warren Bryant, 46, owner of the Workshop, who is also calling for compensation, said: "Last week it was a struggle to pay the staff wages. I had to dip into the business overdraft for the first time. I have been here for 14 years and have never had that problem."

He added he has lost about half of his takings during the period of the roadworks and did not know day-to-day what was happening with the roadworks and road closures.

So far there has been one weekend of full road closures around the junction.

The roadworks on Earlham Road, Norwich, as part of the Transport for Norwich project. Picture: Sophie WyllieThe roadworks on Earlham Road, Norwich, as part of the Transport for Norwich project. Picture: Sophie Wyllie

The rest of the time traffic has been controlled by temporary traffic lights.

MORE: Full scale of the Norwich sinkhole revealed

The roadworks on Earlham Road, Norwich, as part of the Transport for Norwich project. Picture: Sophie WyllieThe roadworks on Earlham Road, Norwich, as part of the Transport for Norwich project. Picture: Sophie Wyllie

Mr Bryant said: "I know the council has to do what they have to do but the main problem is the lack of communication. Small businesses are suffering.

"We survive week-to-week. If I wasn't so friendly with the workers I wouldn't have a clue what was going on. I have not heard anything from the powers that be."

Bar supervisor Jamal Utting, 24, said: "I have come into work and stood here for two and half hours and made one cup of coffee."

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said the project had been delayed due to bad weather and is due to finish this Sunday evening.

There is a full road closure up until that time.

He added a project manager had spoken to the businesses, about the work and boards notifying people about the businesses remaining open had been put up.

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