‘We want compensation for loss of trade’ – Lowestoft shops

BUSINESSES in Lowestoft that claim to have lost trade as a result of controversial roadworks are to demand compensation from the region's largest water company.

The repairs to a sewer in Station Square – which were expected to end today – have caused frustration for drivers and prompted claims from some traders that they have led to a fall in custom.

Emma King, Lowestoft town centre manager, is writing to Anglian Water to demand some form of recompense for the disruption to trade caused by the traffic problems over the last four weeks. One idea being put forward is that the company provides �12,000 as a 'goodwill gesture' to traders by funding Lowestoft's Christmas lights.

Mrs King, who represents the Lowestoft Town Management Partnership, said traders felt a show of financial support from Anglian Water was needed because since the repair work started on January 23 it had badly affected shops and businesses.

Some stores had reported up to 2,000 fewer customers than usual because people were put off from driving into the town centre, she said.

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Mrs King told the Journal: 'The retailers have suggested we ask for compensation as they have lost so much business and footfall. Lowestoft has been doing really, really well recently and that has all been knocked back completely.

'The retailers have all been working hard with the recession and they have been hit hard by the roadworks. I would like Anglian Water to cover the costs of the Christmas lights – �12,000.'

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Mrs King said she hoped Anglian Water would seriously consider the compensation request as it would help put the controversy over the roadworks to bed and then build a fresh relationship between the company and the town.

When asked whether it would consider compensation, an Anglian Water spokesman said each business affected by the roadworks could contact the company directly to discuss any claims. However, paying a contribution towards the town's Christmas lights was not likely to be something it would consider.

Meanwhile, the company said Station Square should finally be clear of cones and traffic signals for this weekend as its �130,000 scheme to repair the damaged sewer was now almost complete.

Anglian Water had been hoping to complete the scheme last Thursday after contractors May Gurney brought in machinery to insert a sock-like membrane that sets hard to provide a protective lining for damaged sewer.

However, because of a tear in the liner, the work involving a remotely-controlled control robot device had to be put off until this week as additional 'specialist kit' had to be ordered in.

When the work started, Waveney District Council also criticised Anglian Water for its failure to notify it about the repair project, saying this had prevented it helping local businesses prepare for disruption.

But, despite the delays in finishing the work, it should still be completed earlier than scheduled as it was initially predicted to last five weeks.

The Anglian Water spokesman added: 'We are really sorry the delays do keep happening.'

Town centre cash hope – page 7

Postbox – page 20

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