Shopkeepers fear their businesses will not survive the Southall Broadway roadworks as the traffic chaos continues.
Business owners are pulling their hair out this week as they also claim that the future benefits of the £11million Southall Big Plan development is not worth the disruption.
Traders along Southall Broadway are now worried for their future as they claim customers are being held up and put off coming into the area because the traffic hold ups have reached nightmare proportions since works began on Monday.
The Broadway will be narrowed, pavements widened and an island created in the middle of the road, resulting in the Broadway being temporarily made one way. The project is due to be completed by Christmas.
The changes being made are largely to tackle the extremely high number of pedestrian casualties along the stretch of road which had reach just over one a month.
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: “In the last few days I have been getting calls from my tenants panicking about the traffic disruption. They say customers are not coming into their shops as they can’t get into Southall because of the one way system. I have 45 shopkeepers in the Palace Shopping Centre and 40 in the Himalaya Shopping Centre, and they are all telling me trade is down and they are worried about not being able to pay their rent. These are small business owners. There is a real risk that they won’t survive these roadworks. My carpet warehouse, Himalaya Carpets on Uxbridge Road, is actually having to extend opening times as customers are stuck in traffic. We have been closing at 7:30pm in order to wait for customers to get here.
“I don’t feel that the council has considered the shopkeepers at all and I am going to petition the council to create some sort of freeze or reduction of business rates for the duration of these roadworks. I am born and bred in Southall. I started my carpet warehouse in 1976 and my shopping centres I’ve had for 15 years and things have never been this bad. It begs the question as to whether it’s all worth it.”
Jeweller Naveen Kumar of Ramesh Jewellers on the Broadway, has described the roadworks as a ‘living nightmare’.
Mr Kumar said: “The level of disruption here is actually sickening. It will take you two hours to get into Herbert Road car park and at least one hour to get out. You can no longer turn left onto Uxbridge Road so you have to go around. The one way system is causing a lot of confusion and frustration and to top it off the council have very discrete small black cameras that follow the motorists to issue tickets for wrong turns. People do not notice the small round black cameras as they are below a bigger white camera. I don’t think this is fair. There are no signs to alert you to the cameras.
“The narrowing of the roads will turn the Broadway into a bottle neck and over the next six months visitors to this area will be put off and our businesses are going to suffer. It is a living nightmare. If people loose their businesses then this project is not worth all of this disruption.”
A spokesperson for Ealing council 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.”
The council is expected to comment further on the traffic disruption.