Earlier this month the Publican’s Morning Advertiser (PMA) reported the case of Jason Birch of the Station Hotel in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, who estimated he was out of pocket to the tune of £20,000 because of disruption outside his venue.
Now more pubs have contacted the PMA with complaints that roadworks are crippling their businesses and might force them to close.
The licensees have claimed councils are not doing enough to help compensate them for loss of trade.
Paul Weeks, owner of the Green Bricks in Hull, estimated roadworks are costing him up to £6,000 a week. He said there had been no compensation despite appeals for support. “Our business relies on passing trade, but a lot of people think we are closed or don’t want to come in when they see the works,” he said.
Dean Kelly, licensee of the White Hart, in Castle Cary, Somerset, suffered during repair works to a nearby railway bridge, destroying tourist trade throughout last summer. The closure cut off all through traffic, sending po-tential customers on a 10-mile detour away from the pub.
“I had to take out a loan to cover bills built up over that time, a loan I’m still paying off,” Kelly explained. “Things were very tough, so we only paid those who shouted louder than others. We stopped paying our business rates and ended up being a year behind on payments.
“We were told there would be no compensation, or any reduction in business rates as the works would not take longer than 26 weeks.”
The only help came in the form of signs stating ‘business open as usual’, he said.
The George & Dragon Pub in Meaford, Staffordshire, reported weekly losses of up to a third because of work carried out to improve access to a local business park.
But the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has now urged councils to consider the damaging impact that roadworks can have on local businesses.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is in the best interest of councils to ensure that their businesses are as prosperous as possible.
“Failure to work with and help support pubs and bars in their areas will only see councils shooting themselves in the foot. Not only are pubs valuable social hubs, but
they are significant sources of tax revenue for councils across the UK.”
Councils have made the argument that there is no legal obligation for them to compensate pubs for loss of trade in many situations. But Nicholls said: “Local authorities need to understand that pubs and bars are integral parts of local communities and huge commodities for high streets.”
■ Has your pub been hit by roadworks? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org