Chip shop owner moonlights as taxi driver as gas woes delay opening
- Credit: Juber Ali
The owner of a new chip shop has told how a long wait for a gas connection has left him thousands of pounds out of pocket and having to moonlight as a taxi driver to make ends meet.
Juber Ali is still waiting to open The Fish 'n' Chip Shop on Magdalen Street, despite taking on the building for the business more than a year ago.
Mr Ali, who also ran an Indian takeaway in Wymondham, has been paying rent on the property since July 2018.
However, due to the building lacking a gas connection, he has been unable to open the business as planned.
After months of trying to arrange with provider Cadent for a connection to be made, works have now been scheduled for two consecutive Sundays in September, which will see a section of the road closed to traffic.
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But while it should finally see him able to open the new business, the waiting period has proved tough.
He said: "The last five to six months in particular have been extremely frustrating.
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"I'm out of pocket in rent by £7,800, went without earning any money for five months and have had to become a self-employed taxi driver to make a living - as the gas situation is uncertain.
"I've also had to keep all the people who I intended to employ hanging and the council's environmental health team can't do any checks on me until I have gas.
"It has been quite a bit of a ride the past 10 months, since I paid for the connection."
In May, the gas provider said dates for the work had been agreed, but "unexpected engineering challenges" meant it needed to redesign how the connection could be made.
A spokesman for Cadent today said: "The gas mains we need to access to carry out the connection work requested are in a busy local area and the local authority has specified the work needed to be done on Sundays, when roads are generally quieter.
"The earliest dates we have been able to agree on are September 8 and 15 and the work will necessitate a road closure as we require access to our gas mains in the road to connect the property.
"We can appreciate that the customer has been waiting a long time and we have been keeping them updated throughout the process."
The spokesman added that the company will look into ways Mr Ali can be compensated once the work is complete.