BUSINESSMEN are blaming roadworks at the site of a multi-million pound regeneration of Blackpool town centre for “squeezing them shut”.
One businessman claims he has seen a 70 per cent drop in sales since work began on the first phase of the £220m Central Business District.
While the development is welcomed by business owners trading on George Street, some say work to resurface the road, which has been going on for four months, is having a devastating effect on their takings.
Guy Hunt, 38, who owns Discount Tile Trade Warehouse, said his turnover was down 70 per cent .
He added: “I’ve been here 19 years, and I’m slowly being squeezed shut. We’ve got good businesses up here that are struggling.
“The road is half finished, and it looks as though our shop is shut.”
Neil Waring, owner of Action Exhausts on George Street, said: “The whole area has changed over the last six or seven years. It used to be an industrial estate, now it’s all housing.
“It’s affecting us all. We’re just not getting the passing trade we used to. I’m sure this development will make the area better, but they can’t ignore the people in the course of them doing it.”
Andy Barton from Muse Developments, which is developing the scheme, said: “Unfortunately, the contractor, Balfour Beatty, has been delayed by third parties and the weather. The contractor expects George Street will be completed in the next three weeks.
“The planing of the surface has not affected the use of the road, which has remained open to vehicles at all times.
“We have erected and replaced signage when it was removed over Christmas to confirm the tile business on George Street is open and we have made it clearer to motorists that all businesses within the area affected by these road works are open.”