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.


barryls said...

You makes omlettes, you breaks eggs.

Peter Tooke said...

Ladywell fought hard to get this funding, jumping up the priority order for TfL funding almost miraculously thanks to the efforts of Tony Major the then LVIG Chair (and local trader). I am not sure how anyone could have imagined such major works would somehow not have been disruptive. Yes, there's inconvenience and some loss of trade in the short-term, but the outcome will be a massive boost for business and a much more pleasant streetscape for residents. Let's keep our eye on the prize here.

Bodgejob said...

Is anyone questioning that the improvements are not welcome? I don't think so.

The issue is delays, disruption and poor handling of contractors and the effects on trade by the Council. There is good reason for complaint. This sort of thing can lead to an extended downturn in business.

I certainly hope, after all this, the standard of the work is up to scratch.

Now you would not want your omlette with bits of egg shell in it, yolks that are messed and the egg box left in the sink, would you?

tony major said...

Local traders are already having a tough time in the current economic climate and the last thing we need is for some of the businesses to go under because of the road scheme. The construction works are well behind schedule and look set to cause a lot of disruption for at least six months. At the very least, the council should be talking to local traders, listening to their concerns and doing
what they can to help them through this tricky period. Why not look at a
temporary cut in business rates if it will help. Despite the chaos and inconvenience, I think most people in the neighbourhood agree the
improvement scheme, which LVIG lobbied long and hard for, will be of
huge benefit to the area in the long run. We just need Conways to finish it on time.

John said...

Poor handling of major works and bad mangement of incompetent contractors. Sounds like par for the course where Lewisham council are concerned.

Anon said...

I go through Ladywell to Brockley on an almost daily basis and the roadworks are increasingly frustrating. I am certainly not looking forward to the full closure of the road for so long, however since this has been going on I have opted to walk on a number of days a week as it is taking around the same time. This means that rather than driving past all of your lovely shops I have popped in a few and made purchases, something I wouldn't have been able to do when driving as there is very limited parking. Hopefully others are or will do the same and spend some time (and money) in your establishments.

androo said...

Have your landlords offered any reductions in rent while the works are going on. Bet they haven't. Have they contributed anything to the works. Doubt it. If the works "work" and the result is ultimately good for business in Ladywell they'll soon put rents up though. And what have they done to deserve this gift?

Henry George - Progress and Poverty. You'll have to look it up.

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