Roadworks compensation

Works Must Pay: MPs throw weight behind roadworks campaign

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Works Must Pay: MPs throw weight behind roadworks campaign

Related tags Business Business rates in england and wales

The Morning Advertiser’s roadworks compensation campaign, Works Must Pay, continues to gather momentum as MPs throw their weight behind the fight for a fairer system for pubs

An Early Day Motion (EDM) has now been tabled in parliament by pro-pub MP Greg Mulholland, and already 10 MPs have signed the motion calling for ‘Roadworks justice for local businesses’​.

The EDM follows The Morning Advertiser​’s (MA​) campaign​, in collaboration with sister title Convenience Store​, lobbying MPs to act following horror stories from readers of how local roadworks have hugely impacted on their businesses.

Raising the issue

Jim Shannon MP, of the Democratic Unionist Party, is one of the names to have signed the EDM and has committed to raising the issue in parliament.


The campaign began when Jason Birch of the Station Hotel pub in Hucknall, Nottingham, complained of “nightmare” roadworks that risked putting him out of business​.

Pubs hit hard by roadworks

  • Innovation Pubs reported losses of £6,000 a week from ongoing roadworks since November at the Green Bricks, Hull
  • The Station Hotel in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, reported being close to closure due to losses of £20,000
  • The William Hardwicke in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, reported losses of £3,000 a month for 12 months
  • The Needless Inn in Morley, Leeds, reported £12,000 losses
  • The Upton Inn in Upton Cheyney near Bath, Somerset, reported almost closing due to a nine-month scheme in 2014
  • The Wellington Inn, Darley, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, reported severe damage to trade for 18 months
  • The Rose and Crown, Tiverton, Devon, lost £2,000 because of a one-week closure

He was told there is no obligation for a council to compensate​ or reduce a pub’s business rate in this scenario. Birch’s story struck a chord with scores of licensees, who contacted the MA ​with similar tales of decimated turnover and minimal support.

‘Nonsensical’ system

British Pub Confederation chair Mulholland described the current system as “nonsensical”. When two licensees came to him for help due to roadworks disruption in the village of Pool-in-Wharfedale, West Yorkshire, the MP decided to speak to local councillors.

“At the time there certainly wasn’t an understanding of the impact and what damage it could have on a pub,” he explained.

The village is on a main road between Harrogate and Bradford. “The road is very busy with a lot of passing traffic. Suddenly when it’s cut off, you’ve only got locals really, and you lose Sunday lunch trade,” Mulholland said.

“It was clear council officers just didn’t have the understanding of the impact it has on those businesses. I think it’s
probably indicative of council offices around the country not really understanding the impact it’s having.”

Local authorities have discretionary powers to offer compensation, but they are strapped for cash and often have little motivation to do so.

Blue Parrot

Damage to pub businesses can be a result of highways maintenance, energy and water works or major transport schemes, which can be the responsibility of a wide range of agencies.

Right avenue

Licensees have often struggled to find the right avenue to look for help​ and frequently hit a brick wall when seeking compensation.


Highways authorities have no obligation to compensate businesses affected by roadworks schemes.

Licensees can seek help from the valuation office agency​ to seek reduced business rates, but publicans and business rates experts have told the MA​ the system is arduous and time-consuming, often leading to minimal results.

Loopholes and expenses

Finally, there are conditions in which energy and water companies undertaking works should pay compensation​, but the burden is on the business owner to negotiate a system fraught with loopholes and expenses that are off-putting to single-site licensees.

The campaign wants the Government to reform the way local businesses receive compensation into a simple, transparent process and increase the amount businesses receive.

It has gathered support​ from trade bodies the British Beer and Pub Association, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Institute of Innkeeping. The problem extends across sectors, with small business owners of all types struggling, which is why The Morning Advertiser​ has teamed up with sister title Convenience Store​ for the campaign​.

If you’ve been affected by roadworks, contact your MP and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 370​.  ​Send your story to byv.tebff@jeoz.pbz .

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