The owner of a fledgling business in Newark will not be compensated for loss of trade she says has been caused by Severn Trent’s £60m sewer replacement scheme — because she is not in the immediate area of the works.
Wendy Shaw, of Artisan Gluten Free Bakery, Chain Lane, said takings in March were 22% down on the same period last year — after previous months before the work started had seen a year-on-year increase.
She contacted Severn Trent about its compensation scheme, saying she had experienced a huge drop in trade since nearby Castlegate was reduced to one-lane to allow a tunnel to be sunk, and a one-way system introduced.
But she was told only businesses directly on the roads where work was being carried out would receive help.
“Seeing as we had seen a month-on-month increase of 20-25% on year one figures prior to the works commencing, it is fair to say that our drop is more like 30-35%,” she said.
“To any business that is disastrous — to one as young as ours it is untenable.
“It is highly illogical to consider that only businesses on the roads where works take place are affected because they (Severn Trent) are effectively closing off access to the whole town centre. It seems wrong that they will not help.”
Severn Trent has to follow The Water Industry Act 1991 when dealing with compensation claims, which says a claiming business must be in the immediate vicinity of the work.
After using all of the money she had been saving since opening her business, Wendy said would not be able to sustain the shop until June, when the one-way system part of the roadworks around Castlegate is due to be lifted.
“We as a town need to get together and try to find a solution. I cannot survive like this,” she said.
“If the money runs out, the doors of the business will close. If that happens to several businesses it would be awful for the town.”
'We continue to work closely with local businesses'
Wendy said people needed to be pro-active and push for big events to be staged to bring shoppers and visitors back into Newark when the restrictions ended.
A spokesman for Severn Water said: “Our £60m project is vital in making sure homes and businesses are protected from sewer flooding, as well as providing Newark with a reliable water supply for years to come.
“We have been working hard to make sure our work has as little impact on local businesses in Newark as possible, so shops can continue to operate as normal.
“While the one-way system is in place we are running a free shuttle bus service to make sure shops and businesses are easily accessible.
“We have been making sure signs on our barriers around our work make it clear that local businesses are open as usual.
“We would encourage everyone to continue to support their local businesses in the heart of Newark.
“With the support of Newark and Sherwood District Council we are in the process of preparing adverts to help drive even more visitors to the town.
“We continue to work closely with local businesses. Any business owners on the streets we are working on who have concerns about a loss of profits can discuss that with us.”
Business owners can contact Severn Trent’s business compensation team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org