Town centre roadworks are killing us, say Kettering firms

Roadworks at the Victoria Street and Montagu Street junction.
Roadworks at the Victoria Street and Montagu Street junction.

Businesses in Kettering’s town centre say their trade is down by up to 60 per cent because of roadworks.

A major £1.5m to £2m project to turn Eskdaill Street two-way to traffic is currently in progress and is expected to end on December 2.

Traffic is currently not allowed down Victoria Street meaning all vehicles are having to go along Montagu Street with fewer parking spaces for people visiting shops and businesses.

Businessman Kamal Paul, whose Montagu Street family shop is just three yards from the roadworks, says trade is so bad he’s had to lay off staff.

He said: “I do welcome the scheme and I think it’s what Kettering needs.

“But in the interim it’s very damaging to our trade.

“The shop has had to lay off two members of staff and takings have been down 60 per cent.

“I fear this won’t end in December and will run over the busy Christmas period into January.”

The shop is also looking at a compensation claim as part of its membership of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN).

Jessica Berrill, recruitment manager at ACS Recruitment in Victoria Street, said: “We’ve not had the footfall we’re used to, there’s just no-one coming through the doors.

“We’ve probably had about half the people we’d expect in here.”

Heidi Serino, a nail technician at Crystal Tips in Montagu Street, said: “We are normally really busy but we’re losing business.

“People are arriving late because they can’t park and are having to park elsewhere and walk.

“It’s just putting people off coming.”

Lauren Pugh, who also works at Crystal Tips, says the roadworks are even having an adverse effect on her dad Nick, who owns Nick’s chippy in Rockingham Road.

Albany Queiros, site manager at Flogas in Montagu Street, said: “It’s killing us. We had three sales one day, three.

“People don’t want to drive here and park up because of the roadworks.

“We’ve had our ups and downs but we’re trying our hardest.”

A spokesman for Kettering Council said: “It is our understanding that the works being carried out by Northamptonshire Highways to Eskdaill Street are on target to finish in early December so as not to interfere with Christmas trading.

“The works are being carried out by Northamptonshire Highways for Northamptonshire County Council in order to deliver the County Council’s transportation strategy for the town.

“Kettering Council have contributed to the development of that strategy and also negotiated funding through Section 106 agreements with local housing developers.

“The council is aware that local businesses have been liaising directly with Northamptonshire Highways about the adjustments that can be made whilst works takes place.

“It is inevitable that works of this nature do have an impact when they are taking place and we are thankful to local residents, businesses and road users for being patient whilst the works take place.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “When programming any highways works we consider the impact on all road users and plan works to minimise disruption.

“We have placed additional signage to highlight the various businesses in the area to ensure that the public are aware they are still open.

“During the course of the project pedestrian diversion routes have been signed and accompanied by pedestrian marshals.

“Pedestrians are being diverted safely around the works area to keep access to local businesses and places of interest.”