Local authorities

Council roadworks 'nightmare' could cause pub closure

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Station Hotel pub could close after Nottingham roadworks

Related tags: Nottinghamshire, Nottingham

An outraged licensee fears he is on the verge of having to close his pub because nightmare roadworks have devastated his trade.

Jason Birch of the Station Hotel pub in Hucknall has estimated he is out of pocket to the tune of £20,000 because of the disruption, which has been ongoing since January. So far Nottinghamshire County Council has refused to compensate him for the loss of trade.

“It’s been a total nightmare. We’ve been borrowing as much money as we can and putting off payments, but I’m not sure if we will survive,” Birch said. “The bills are backing up. We’re just trying to keep our heads above the water.”

Birch took on the lease of the pub with Star Pubs & Bars last year and said he had no idea the roadworks were scheduled. The work meant the pub has been surrounded by fences and the car park forced to close. Local community groups have stopped using the venue and several profitable events cancelled.

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Maze of fences

“You couldn’t access the property,” said Birch. “[Work-men] put up a wire fence that encased us all the way around. To get here people have to go through a maze of fences. People probably think we are closed.”

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The Station Hotel features six bedrooms but regular customers were put off by works that Birch said went on into the night.

“Our long-term customers had enough and moved out. Functions that were booked were being cancelled day in, day out. We lost a wedding, a 60th and a 30th birthday party for 80 to 100 people, which we were catering for. That was a £5,000 package,” Birch explained.

Angry

“If you think how hard it is to build up a business, it just fell away in a couple of weeks. We’ve got angrier and angrier as time has gone on.”

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Despite support and calls for compensation from a local councillor, Nottinghamshire County Council said it has no legal obligation to compensate the pub.

Birch said he was disappointed in the lack of help: “We’ve been told we aren’t getting anything, that’s just the way it works. But there should be special circumstances. Even if I got half of what I’ve lost in trade; I don’t want to make a profit. I just want to keep the business open.”

Ongoing

The roadworks directly outside the pub have been completed but there are still others ongoing on neighbouring roads, while the closure of a nearby bridge until October means customers can only access the pub from one direction. The roadworks scheme is due for completion next spring.

Neil Hodgson, the council’s service director for highways, said: “There are no legal grounds for the county council to accept claims for loss of trade but we appreciate everyone’s patience at this time and hope everyone will benefit from the completed road scheme. We worked as quickly and efficiently as possible and kept disruption to a minimum.”

Star Pubs & Bars is in discussion with the council in an attempt to get the pub’s business rates reduced.

Have you had issues with roadworks? Contact oli.gross@wrbm.com

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