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Gasworks cause headache for West Hampstead traders

PUBLISHED: 15:40 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:54 07 September 2010

TRADERS in West Hampstead face months of upheaval and loss of trade because of ongoing gas works outside their shops. The whole top section of West End Lane was closed off on January 5. Traders are furious that so much of the pavement is out of action and

TRADERS in West Hampstead face months of upheaval and loss of trade because of ongoing gas works outside their shops.

The whole top section of West End Lane was closed off on January 5.

Traders are furious that so much of the pavement is out of action and they have not been told how long the works will last.

Hasmukh Patel, manager of Atlanta Food and Wine, said: "We are losing £500 every day because people are not coming in any more because we are totally blocked off by the gas works and no-one can cross the road or park.

"People do not get off the bus near us any more because they have also closed the bus stop and we are finding it very difficult.

"The delivery people are having huge problems because they cannot park without getting a ticket and some of them have not come because of it.

"I am angry because I am losing customers as they cannot get here. The gas company has not said anything to us about compensation - I don't know how we can carry on like this.

"We are already having a tough time because of the credit crunch and this is making it a lot worse."

Manager of Ramco Pharmacy Navnit Patel said the shop has lost all passing trade because of the works and there is not enough space for wheelchair users or parents with buggies to move along the street.

"It is a huge problem for us," he said. "No one knows how long it is going on, which is very frustrating, and we are not getting any answers. People just go elsewhere because it is easier and they cannot get here."

Manager of Alexis Bakery, Peter Marks, thinks some shops will not survive the works and wants compensation for the loss of trade: "It is affecting our trade badly. There seems to be no urgency to getting the work done. It is not a fantastic time to be doing it either because things are tough at the moment because of the credit crunch."

And Ray Blackgrove, manager of Wine Rack, said: "It is mentally and physically very difficult. My sales are down every year by about 10 or 15 per cent and this is making it worse.

"We are suffering every day for the fact that people cannot park. It is not good and the fact that it is going on for so long is frustrating. It is also unfortunate that it is in January which is a very slow month anyway."

A National Grid spokesman said residents and businesses were informed prior to the start of the essential gas pipe replacement work, which is due to finish in May.

He said: "We have worked closely with the local authority to plan the works and to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

"We apologise for any inconvenience our works have caused and it's worth remembering that once the work has been completed the new pipes should last for a minimum of 80 years if left undisturbed. National Grid will consider all compensation claims which are then looked at case by case by an independent third party.


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