Traders have invited their MP and council officers to Southall Broadway at peak traffic and trading times to see for themselves the negative affect that roadworks are having on their businesses.
Traders along Southall Broadway claim customers are being put off coming into the area because the traffic hold ups have reached nightmare proportions since works began on Monday.
The changes being made are largely to tackle the high number of pedestrian casualties along the stretch of road, and local MP Virendra Sharma used his getwestlondon column this month to reassure the community that it would be a case of 'short term pain for long term gain'.
Surjit Pandhar owns The Palace Shopping Centre on South Road and The Himalaya Shopping centre on the Broadway. Mr Pandhar spoke on behalf of his 95 tenants who say they are experiencing a huge drop in sales.
Landlord and business owner Mr Pandhar said: “Trade and the traffic have gone worse. It’s absolutely crazy that the council can’t see that. They are out of touch with reality and I invite council officers to come into Southall Broadway at rush hour in their cars to see for themselves. You can barely drive a Mini Cooper through Beaconsfield Road and weekends are gridlocked. I have written to our MP Virendra Sharma to ask him to help us. The council must do more to make life easier for traders during this difficult time over the next five months. Trade and profit margins are plummeting. We need business rates frozen.”
Jeweller Naveen Kumar of Ramesh Jewellers on the Broadway, has described the roadworks as a ‘living nightmare’.
He said: “Certain parts of the day are not to bad with the traffic but during rush hour and on the weekend it’s chaos. Peak trading hours are now quiet and we are all very worried about how we are going to survive this period. I have had many customers phone me up to say they will no longer be coming into the shop as they can’t handle the roadworks. They can’t afford the time it takes and are worried about taking a wrong turning and ending up on a massive one way system. So, people are avoiding Southall altogether and it’s hitting our businesses. On top of the many of my suppliers have been hit with tickets and fines which is not helping the situation. The council are more active in fining people doing the wrong thing in the roadworks than helping struggling businesses who may loose their livelyhoods.”
A spokesperson for Ealing council recently said: “In regards to the cameras they are not new or hidden. There is clear signage telling people about the one way system and at certain times throughout the day we have traffic officers on patrol helping people with the new road system. We are currently reviewing the car park signs in Southall.”
A council spokesperson said: “The Southall Broadway scheme is a key part of the ambitious Southall Big Plan which aims to transform Southall for the long-term benefit of residents, shoppers and businesses. The work will improve safety and ease congestion as well as make the area more attractive and results of the public consultation showed that 80% of traders wanted the scheme to go ahead. Some traffic disruption is to be expected during the construction phase but our on-site team has reported that work is progressing well. We would like to thank people and ask for their ongoing patience while the improvements are taking place.”