'Compensate us'

PUBLISHED: 09:36 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:28 10 June 2010

A BUDLEIGH Salterton trader says he and other business owners are preparing to battle for compensation claiming ongoing water pipe replacements have affected profits. Town and district councillor Steve Hall, who owns Shop Too, in the High Street, said B

A BUDLEIGH Salterton trader says he and other business owners are preparing to battle for compensation - claiming ongoing water pipe replacements have affected profits.Town and district councillor Steve Hall, who owns Shop Too, in the High Street, said Balfour Beatty's works were causing misery among traders who had seen a dip in profits since the work began.Cllr Hall has asked Budleigh Town Council to address the issues affecting business owners and lend their support.Cllr Hall said he would be looking for compensation - because his takings were 20 per cent down compared to last year.And in the run-up to one of his busiest trading times - Valentine's Day - Cllr Hall said visitors had this year stayed away.He said the recent diversion of the main road into the town had made the situation worse - shoppers were expected to drive almost to East Budleigh before doubling back to the town. Although some locals were using Bedlands Lane as a short cut, this route was not signposted as an official diversion.Cllr Hall said: "Most of the traders I have spoken to can pinpoint the actual day when the road works started on West Hill, because we all keep records. "January was good for me. I was nine per cent up. But I can plot the day the road works started. "The problem has been compounded after the diversion - when you run into more traffic lights. People are pulling their hair out, saying 'why should I bother?'"The road works are coming to the High Street and I believe they are slightly behind schedule. The prospect of them running into March and Easter is a daunting prospect for traders."Budleigh Chamber of Commerce chairman Alan Tilbury said every member to whom he had spoken had reported a downturn in business since the start of the work.Mr Tilbury said he thought visitors were by-passing the town in favour of Sidmouth.A South West Water spokesman said: "The diversion route, which has been agreed between South West Water and the local highways authority, must be of the same classification or higher as the road that is closed. This is to ensure access can be maintained for vehicles of all classes. We apologise for any inconvenience this essential work may cause." l Comment on this story at www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

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