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Council's neglect is killing off our trade
7:30am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
TOWN centre traders are demanding action is taken in their street, which is regularly plagued by beggars, drunks and drug-users.
Queens Road, off Southend High Street, is home to a variety of businesses, shops and cafes who say they are being badly neglected by the council when it comes to investment and improvements.
The shop owners say, since HMV closed down five years ago, the road has deteriorated further and the empty building has become a real eyesore.
Traders want action now because people coming from the top of the High Street will be using their road to to get to the new£27million Forum library, set to open at the end of the month.
Salvatore Burzotta, who runs Il Pescatore restaurant and Cafe Bar Italia, said: “I’ve been here for 30 years and I’ve never seen it so disgraceful.
“I’ve lost 30 per cent of my business in the evenings because people can’t park down here. It’s changed to loading-only bays, but they’re unused.”
Michael Morriss owner of Studio 9 salon said the poor lighting put people off, and things would only get worse as the winter evenings drew in.
He said: “The road conditions and pavements are terrible.
“There’s no proper street lighting.
"People don’t want to walk down here when its getting dark.
"There’s no security, yet we were promised when the newuniversity accommodation blockwent up we’d get CCTV. We get all the drunks moved on from the High Street here, as well as the druggies.
“Small businesses are struggling and many rely on passing trade, yet this is killing us.
“They need to improve it because people will be coming through to get to the new library soon.”
Maxwells sandwich bar, Ultimate Hair and Beauty, Jewellers Workshop and Cafe Munchies are all supporting the call for the council to do more and have instructed solicitors to write to the council on their behalf to demand action.
John Hammond, from Ultimate Hair, said: “We don’t want to become another York Road – a nothing shopping street where everything closes because people don’t want to come down here.
“We’ve all contacted the council, but we just don’t get a response, which is disgusting when you consider the high business rates we pay.”
Traders want similar investment in side roads to that enjoyed in other parts of the town centre.
They want the road resurfaced and pavements cleaned. At present, the new block paving towards the Forum stops short of the shops.
They also want signs pointing to their shopping area from the High Street to boost trade.
A spokesman for Southend Council said: “The council will be consulting shortly with Queens Road businesses on the design options for new street lights and will continue to ensure that the condition of the pavements and highways are monitored regularly.”
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