Roadworks on one of Huddersfield’s busiest roads are damaging businesses there, it is claimed.
Sam Lees and Edward Doddy – who run Uppercrust on Wakefield Road in Moldgreen – said they have seen takings plunge by 70% since Northern Gas Networks (NGN) began work to replace gas pipes about six weeks ago.
The business partners said they have not been able to pay themselves a wage due to the drop in passing trade as vehicles are not able to park close to the shop.
Sam said: “November and December is our busiest time when customers want a hot sandwich on a cold day.”
And he added: “The three workmen on the job are good eaters, but it doesn’t make up the shortfall.”
Sam said: “We have spoken to the gas company about claiming compensation, but no-one can give me a timescale.”
He said the roadworks outside the shop and on nearby Old Wakefield Road, meant the nearest on-street parking was more than 100 metres away near Moldgreen United Reformed Church. Long stretches of Wakefield Road had been dug up to lay the new pipes and plastic barriers have been put up on both sides of the road.
“People are just driving on to find somewhere else,” said Sam.
The roadworks are part of a £190,000 scheme which got under way in August to replace old metal gas pipes with new plastic ones. This has seen long stretches of Wakefield Road and a number of side streets dug up, resulting in road and lane closures, temporary traffic lights and diversions.
NGN said the work was being carried out to replace old, metal gas pipes that have been in the ground for decades and have reached the end of their useful life.
It said the scheme was progressing as planned as part of NGN’s work between now and 2021 to replace more than 3,800 kilometres of old metal pipes with modern plastic ones that are more durable.
NGN said its customer care officers were visiting the site regularly and talking to business owners and residents about this ongoing essential work.
Construction services area manager Paul Jagger said: “We’d like to apologise to everyone affected by the work we are doing. We’ve put in place signage to let people know it’s business as usual at all the shops and we’ve also made a special sign suggesting alternative parking to Mr Lees’ car parking facilities.
“We are in regular contact with Mr Lees and will continue to discuss any specific concerns he has through our weekly visits.
“We’d like to thank all the business owners on Wakefield Road for their co-operation while we work as quickly as possible to complete this project.”