Express & Star

Business owners concerned about future as Brierley Hill roadworks continue

Business owners along a Black Country high street have spoken about uncertainty about the future as roadworks continue.

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Brierley Hill High Street has become a one-way system down the Market Hall side of the street

Brierley Hill High Street has seen parts became a one-way system in the direction of Dudley after the start of roadworks on Monday, January 8.

The roadworks have been ongoing since January 8

The multi-million-pound works will take place in and around Brierley Hill over the next year, with work initially taking place on the Market Hall side of the street, then moving over to the opposite side in the next phase.

The one-way system will be in place from the junction with Venture Way to the junction with Bank Street and bus stops on the Market Hall side are currently suspended.

As the works approach the third week of being in operation, businesses on the High Street have spoken of congestion, less footfall and worries about surviving past the duration of the works.

Kate Wilkinson said deliveries and collecting deliveries were her biggest concerns

Kate Wilkinson, who owns the Flower Fountain, said that the works hadn't had a massive impact yet, but anticipated being more of a problem later in the year.

She said: "The traffic is still congested outside, so no real change from normal, but the only time I can see it really affecting me will be around Valentines Day and Mothers Day when people are more likely to pull up and buy flowers.

"Regular customers know me and will still come, but I would have to wait a few weeks to see what is going to happen.

"I do think the biggest issue for me is going to be around deliveries and picking up deliveries as my wholesaler might not come to see me because they won't be able to park and, for example, I don't want to have to carry a five foot funeral corsage from the nearby car park."

Wayne Lewis said he felt businesses on the High Street were going to struggle through the works

Further down the High Street, Smart Simple Repairs owner Wayne Lewis had taken up a role representing traders along Brierley Hill High Street and said that while his business would be ok, he felt a lot of local businesses would struggle through the roadworks.

He said: "I've had a lot of the traders come and see me, especially from the coffee shop and the chip shop and some of the other shops, and ask me what I can do to help them as we're all losing trade because of the road works.

"Everyone has seen a big drop in their books and been massively affected by things like reduced parking, such as disabled people being unable to park at places they could before.

"I will be ok, but I worry about a lot of the local businesses, with at least one telling me that they have spoken to their accountant about how they might not be able to pay the electric bill at the end of the month, and what is going on is a massive inconvenience for traders.

"The community is suffering as well as there's no parking, no facilities and no bus access and you could hear a mouse running outside as there's not a single car passing by."

Zak and Rachhpal Gill spoke of fearing for the future if things didn't get better

For Zak Gill, manager of Zak's Plaice fish and chip shop, the works were a serious problem, saying that unless things got better, he feared for the future.

He said: "There's no parking outside at the moment as we are right on the one-way system and there's a lot of traffic, so no one is stopping outside the shop.

"The works have really affected the business as we are getting less customers and less passing trade as fewer people are walking on the High Street.

"If it goes on the way it is, I don't know if we can run for much longer as we are really struggling."

Jane Taylor said she felt the roadworks were a waste of time

At the other end of the High Street, Jane Taylor at Habba Dasha Doo said the works were not a huge problem for her, but she said she felt it was a waste of time and the metro works might cause more problems for businesses on the High Street.

She said: "Trade-wise, I don't have a lot of problems as I am fairly unique in what I sell, but I think the works are a real waste of time because I don't think you'll get more people here just because you're repaving the streets.

"I don't think the roadworks will be a benefit for Brierley Hill and as for the tram, the works on the lights cost me £1,500 in takings and I feel that they will cause more issues here when the track is being laid out."