Road restrictions put in place while the new Lidl store on Halifax Road is built are putting local businesses at risk, say owners.
Coned-off roadsides, traffic lights, lorries blocking the road while manoeuvring into the Lidl site, and mud, dust and dirt carried out by lorries not being properly cleaned up and then trodden into their shops are taking a toll.
The long-established businesses rely on having space for customers to park up and do their shopping.
They are also concerned about future aspects including the height of the base of the Lidl store - concerns shared by residents - fearing flood water run off and fear proposals to introduce “pinch points” to bookend available parkling space will limit customer parking further.
The problem is compounded as parking on the streets at the back of the shops is subject to permits and shoppers could be fined if they used them.
Susan Ramsden, owner of Flowers 4 U, and Riaz Mohammed, owner of the Pakistan Hot Food Takeaway, both report takings down by 60 to 70 per cent since work started, and Rifat Yasin, of Halifax Road Chippy said she was having to throw away more and more food that had been cooked and gone cold due to the drop-off in trade.
Abid Hussain of Hussain Brothers said the situation was very serious and one shop, Shakes and Cakes, had closed. Susan said she was moving her business to Burnley and Rifat was questioning viability.
They say they have asked for parking permits to be suspended while work goes on, that traffic lights not be used unless work is actually being carried out and why permits for night working to get the work finished sooner have not been considered even though some of the workforce building the new Lidl indicated they would be willing to do it.
They feel they have not been consulted before or during the work and been passed from pillar to post when they have tried to put their case to either Lidl or Calderdale Council.
Abid, in business there for 40 years, said: “They are putting ten small businesses at risk to please a big one. It could put 50 people out of work.”
Susan said: “It has been horrendous. I have a new shop in Burnley, I’m moving. I’ve not sold one flower all day.”
Rifat said: “It is soul destroying. How are you supposed to earn a living?”
Calderdale Council’s Head of Highways, Steven Lee, said the council was working with Lidl to ensure that they limit disruption to the businesses whilst work on their new store was taking place.
“This takes into account both the working patterns of the Lidl contractors and the peak times for traffic on the road. As such, the agreed solution is that traffic management should only be in place during off-peak hours, between 9.30am and 3.30pm and we have requested that this is only when work on site makes traffic management absolutely necessary.
“We are sorry to hear that businesses are having problems with mud and dirt from the works as we are already monitoring the site on a regular basis.
“In light of these complaints we will revisit and take whatever action is necessary. We want to keep the impact of these works on nearby businesses to a minimum and will continue to work with Lidl and the contractor to try and find an appropriate solution to the issues that the businesses face whilst these temporary works are in place.
“With respect to the concerns relating to flooding, these are already the subject of high level discussions and once these have been completed the most appropriate course of action will be followed.”
A spokesman for Lidl said that in line with the recommendations of a flood risk assessment conducted prior to planning consent, the company had been advised the store will have no detrimental impact on flooding to neighbouring properties, and any water that lands on its site will stay on its site.
He said: “All of our planning applications include retail impact assessments, and we strongly believe that our new store developments not only benefit local shoppers, but also local businesses and traders in the long term, through increased footfall to the area. Our stores can serve as anchors, which can add value for everyone.
“The traffic management system and hours of work in place are being adhered to in strict accordance with Local Planning Authority requirements.
“We would like to take the opportunity to thank the local community for their understanding and patience during this stage of the development.”