Roadworks cause Ladywell meltdown

Not long ago, we were sitting in a pile of our own hair at Geddes when El from El's Kitchen popped in to ask to borrow some water. It was the end of the day and she'd been unexpectedly cut off by the roadworks taking place outside her shop, which was not helpful for a catering business. A couple of months' later, the works are running reliably behind schedule and the situation is really starting to get on local businesses' nerves.

A letter to Mayor Bullock from Jason Slater (of Slater & King) on behalf of the disrupted businesses says:

Ladywell's local businesses have been strong supporters of the improvements now being made to the Ladywell Road and Algernon Road but as business owners, we are becoming increasingly frustrated with the council’s apparent lack of regard for the problems the street works are creating for us.

The redevelopment work is already more than a month behind schedule and will now not finish until the end of September at the earliest and several shops, already under pressure because of the economic downturn, are seeing further sharp reductions in takings because of the disruption caused by this work.

We have now been told that Ladywell Road will be closed to traffic for eight weeks from July 1st 2013 and this is likely to further increase the pressure on our businesses. So far there has been no attempt by council officers or elected officials to allay local business fears and frustrations, and to date, other than a printed update about the progress of and the delays to the works, there has been no information given as to the practical arrangements we can expect to be put in place (such as the collection of rubbish and how we will be able to receive vital deliveries) during the road closure which is due to begin in less than ten days' time.

We also want to know what support the council can offer us; local shops and businesses are the lifeblood of Lewisham's local high streets and need to be supported by the council, not neglected. We would urge council officers to meet local shop owners in Ladywell ahead of the road closure and listen to the concerns we have. We would also urge the council to give strong consideration to reducing the business rates that local businesses pay for a three-month period to help compensate owners for the serious impact the street works are having on our businesses.

In response, the Mayor has asked his officers to investigate the issues raised.