TRADERS hit by a gas bill dispute could have their gas restored next week – but one will not be back in action until then.
Several tenants at the Linthwaite-based Colne Valley Business Park lost their gas supply at the start of last week.
It is thought bailiffs cut off the service after the mill’s landlord fell more than £11,000 behind on their bill.
One business, Plus Foods, was forced to immediately halt manufacturing as it could not cook its products.
The company uses locally-produced food to make ready meals which are then sold through local shops and farm shops.
Co-owner Miss Jane Etherington says they did have some stock which meant they have been able to keep going, but will not be able to make more meals until the gas is back on.
She said: “We have enough frozen stock in hand to keep us ticking over, but we can’t make anything else here until the gas is back on. We have been told that will be next Wednesday.
“We are the only business that is really suffering like this.’’
The company employs three and the meals it makes range from lasagne to curries.
Miss Etherington added: “The first we knew there was a problem was when they came to cut the gas off.’’
Others were left with no heating and many traders said they were worried the electricity might be next.
Traders said they were worried because they had all been paying their bills to the landlord and did not deal directly with the gas company.
But business park manager Michael Robinson said the dispute was nothing to do with him.
And he said any money he had collected went straight into the landlord’s bank account.
He said: “Invoices for rent and utilities are issued to tenants by the landlord in London.
“Some tenants pay by direct debit, others who are in arrears are visited by me and I collect and receipt their invoices and pay into the landlord’s account.
“There are some 55 tenants on the complex of which only five are supplied with gas by the landlord and all five pay direct to the landlord.
“At present the tenants affected are supplying temporary heating where necessary and only one tenant is unable to work until the supply is reconnected, which should be next week.
“Those from whom I collect do so because they do not or will not set up direct debits.”
Miss Etherington added: “Mr Robinson has been very supportive by keeping us in the loop and is doing everything he can to help us.’’
Paul Hobson, director of Calf Hey and Best Impressions label makers said they had met with the mill owners on Tuesday.
He added: “They are assuring us the gas will be back on before the end of the month.
“They have met with the various people concerned and they have assured us the other utilities are being taken care of.”
The landlord is Primezone Ltd and the registered office is at Craven Park Road in London, but no phone number or other contact details are available.