Mill Road bridge closure has cost Indian restaurant £20,000 and three employees
Mill Road businesses say they are suffering huge losses following the bridge closure, with some adding that they are having to lay off staff.
The chair of the Mill Road Traders’ Association warned that some businesses may even be facing closure.
Shapour Meftah, chair, said: “We found that the impact from the Mill Road bridge closure to the traffic has caused a significant loss in takings, from 25 per cent up to 60 per cent.
“Some are thinking of ceasing trade as their takings have reached well below the threshold to survive. All traders are asking for some sort of compensation and I strongly believe it is their right to do so.”
Kobir Ahmed, of the award-winning Prana restaurant, said he had let three members of staff go since the closure because he could not afford to keep paying their wages when business was so slow.
He said: “The passing trade has totally died. We have lost between £15,000 to £20,000. Normally we are a thriving business and we didn’t expect it to hit is as bad as it has. People who made this decision to close the bridge don’t understand Mill Road.
“They don’t understand this street is unique because it attracts locals and tourists and businesses. The locals are happy to cycle and walk, but they will only come for a curry once a week. I’m really angry because we are paying business rates and taxes and I don’t think this has been well planned.”
Mill Road Bridge is closed to traffic for eight weeks over the summer to enable Govia Thameslink to make improvements to the railway sidings underneath the bridge, part of a £30m network upgrade. And yesterday’s (Tuesday) fire added to the problems with access to the street.
However, some residents are taking advantage of the traffic-free roads and have begun a series of community events – called Mill Road Summer – which includes live music, car boot sales, history days, treasure trails, quizzes and tours. They have created extra seating areas, known as ‘parklets’, in parking bays on Mill Road during the bridge closure.
A spokesperson for Mill Road Summer said: “Mill Road Summer is proud of what has been achieved with very little notice in challenging circumstances and we’ve consistently been trying to facilitate a united Mill Road throughout the summer.
“The amount of behind-the-scenes organisation it has taken to get to this point has been substantial and we’re pleased to see that activities are now ramping up.
“The parklet will require a small amount of the budget and has been developed through significant volunteer contribution from the community and businesses who are enthusiastic to try something new.”