Lengthy road closure ‘will kill everything’
Business owners fear effect of six-month works
INDEPENDENT business owners in the centre of Hayes have voiced grave concerns over the future of shops when a busy main road closes for six months.
Hillingdon Council will be carrying out major works from Monday, which will mean Station Road is closed to traffic for six to seven months, and Crown Close for a further four to five months.
The owner of World Wines and Spirits, Rupinder Singh Obhrai, has said he ‘might as well shut up and go home’ when the work starts, saying it will take away a large slice of his sales.
Mr Singh Obhrai, who has owned the store for 37 years, said: “Nobody is in favour of closing it completely for six months.
“It’s going to kill everything. They haven’t notified any of the retailers. We just got a leaflet on Monday.”
The work will include installing a new pedestrian crossing in Station Road, cycle lanes separate from traffic and a new raised junction in Crown Close.
There will also be a new footpath, additional pay and display parking with 30 minutes free, and changes that allow traffic to travel southbound along Crown Close.
It is the latest issue to have angered those using the town centre, as drivers have also been up in arms after receiving unexpected fines for using the turning point outside Hayes and Harlington train station.
Working hours during the work are set to be between 8am and 5pm.
Mr Singh Obhrai, who is the treasurer of the Hayes Town Business Forum, added: “When they shut the road in 1992 we lost 40 per cent of our business and we never regained that.
“If they shut it down completely we’ll end up losing around 30 to 40 per cent.
“We might as well shut up and go home. We can’t survive another six months of closure.”
In 1992, Hillingdon Council fully pedestrianised the northern end of Station Road, which is one of the main shopping streets in the town centre, blocking off the through-road to Botwell Lane and Coldharbour Lane.
Mr Singh Obhrai’s warning has been echoed by the chairman of the business forum A S Puar, who owns Puar Fashion and Travel, in Coldharbour Lane.
Mr Puar said: “I’m quite annoyed. We do object and we will be objecting all the time. We’d like them to do work on one side and leave traffic coming in on the other side.”
The Hayes Town Business Forum currently has around 80 members, most of whom are independent business owners.
Mr Puar added: “Of course it will affect business when there’s no traffic coming through. It will be better [when work is finished] but we don’t want to drive people out.”
In the leaflet handed out to businesses, Hillingdon Council’s cabinet member for planning, transportation and recycling, councillor Keith Burrows, said: “Our partnership is helping the council to make Hillingdon a better place to live, work and visit. By maintaining and improving the streets to make them safer and less congested and helping breathing new life into our town centres, we’re paving the way for a brighter future for Hillingdon.”