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A41 Bilston Road works: Businesses go bust after trade wiped out

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Two city businesses have been forced to shut down after their trade plummeted as a result of the ongoing Midland Metro roadworks scheme.

The work is scheduled to finish before Christmas

Family firm The Grafix Workshop on Cable Street is among the stores to have closed its doors for the final time as a direct result of the six month project to repair tram lines on the A41 Bilston Road.

Smoke Busters on Bilston Road has also closed down due to the work, which started in June and has led to a decline in trade of up to 80 per cent for dozens of firms.

The Grafix Workshop's distraught owner Kimberley Holden said she was left with no choice but to close the business her father Steve started 12 years ago, leading to the loss of three jobs.

"Since the work started we took a massive dip in trade and it got to the point we can no longer sustain the business," she said.

"We don't have a lot of contract work. Our main customers have always been walk-ins, but that has been completely killed off by the works."

Bosses at vape store Smoke Busters announced they had closed 'because of the roadworks' and said they 'would probably not open again'. The firm's other shop in Wednesfield remains open.

The roadworks are being carried out by the Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) and have caused the partial closure of Bilston Road for more than a mile from the city centre to the junction with Culwick Street.

The work is scheduled to be finished before Christmas.

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Councillor Paul Singh, deputy leader of the opposition Conservative group on Wolverhampton Council, described the impact of the repairs as 'truly shocking'.

He added: "It is not only affecting travel for commuters who work across the city, but is also eating into the livelihood of local hardworking businesses day by day.

"I hope the responsible authorities will take heed of the badly organised repairs."

Wolverhampton South East Labour MP Pat McFadden said it was 'tragic' that a project that was 'supposed to be about economic regeneration' had led to businesses going bust.

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"I have been fighting for months alongside the businesses affected for access to some kind of hardship fund to help them through the period of the work," he said.

"That needs to be put in place now to help the traders.

"There has to be a better balance in projects like this between the long term benefits and the short term impact on trade, which in this case has been severe."

The MMA has been contacted for a comment.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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