Paradise lost until scaffolding is down
PUBLISHED: 11:26 19 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:39 15 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
A DESIGNER clothes shop in Honiton lost 50 per cent of its business when workmen unloaded scaffolding outside the outlet's front door.
A DESIGNER clothes shop in Honiton lost 50 per cent of its business when workmen unloaded scaffolding outside the outlet's front door.That's the view of Dave and Elle Welch, owners of Surfers Paradise, in High Street.They claim business was hit when work to spruce up the facade of neighbouring NatWest bank got under way early last week. Scaffolding is to remain in place for four weeks - until December 8. Stonework at NatWest is being power cleaned and repairs are being carried out to the building's cornices."I got a phone call from a member of staff saying customers couldn't get into the shop, because scaffolding was being unloaded outside the doorway," said Mr Welch."Workmen were there until 3pm and access to the shop was severely restricted. It's been the worst trading period of the year for us."Mr and Mrs Welch have run their shop from 96 High Street for the past four years and say the run-up to Christmas is a make or break time for them."It's our busiest time of the year," said Mr Welch. "If we don't take money now, we'd go under."He is concerned that scaffolding is a barrier to customers and that loss of trade should be made up in some form of compensation.When the Herald visited the shop last Wednesday tape had been places across the shop's doorway by scaffolders. A lorry, with scaffold platforms, was parked outside the shop and Mr and Mrs Welch were worried about customer access.Calls to NatWest's property management department were allegedly met with "they're in a meeting" replies.Mr Welch said: "The Highways Agency agreed to this work two weeks ago, but nobody told us. Sales are 50 per cent down. I know the work has got to be done, but couldn't it be carried out at a quieter time of the year?"A spokesperson for NatWest said: "We have asked our third party contractors to confirm that they have complied fully with the relevant building regulations and, in the meantime, we have arranged a meeting with Mr Welsh to discuss his concerns.
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