Traders fear drop in business as west end revamp starts

Traders fear the roadworks at the west end of the High Street will have a damaging effect on business.
Traders fear the roadworks at the west end of the High Street will have a damaging effect on business.

Traders in the West End of the High Street say the roadworks that began on Monday have already had a negative effect on their businesses.

The overhaul is the third and final phase of a programme which started almost 10 years ago in 2007 and is expected to last for seven months.

But retailers speaking to the Press say that they fear they may go out of business before the work is complete.

Now a local councillor has pledged to find out more -and see what can be done to help.

Willie Hodge, who is the owner of Rugs and Runners Carpet Company along with his wife, Yvonne, said: “If it continues like this I could be out of business in a fortnight.

“Straight away there are the issues of parking and deliveries. When we spoke to the council we were told we would have to park in the car park on Nicol Street. We have two cars and at £3.50 a day, five days a week, that’ll soon mount up.”

Mr Hodge also claims that Council officers went back on a promise to include a crossing from one side of the High Street to the other, halfway along the stretch which is blocked off.

“I asked why it hadn’t been included but they denied ever promising it.

‘‘This is a nightmare for us and all the other businesses along here.

“I’ve only had in three customers today and that’s not something I can afford.

“We are panicking and I’m genuinely concerned that we won’t last for the seven months.”

Mr Hodge said the council should offer some financial help to businesses that are affected during the upheaval.

“We get very little help as it is and now we’ve got this to contend with,” he said.

Approximately £1 million will be spent on improvements to parking areas, the road surface, street lighting, and street furniture at the west end, but Saeid Derrwin, owner of La Valente fish and chip shop, said the current phase, which has seen one side of the road closed off from the junction at Nicol Street, “is ruining us”.

He added: “We’ve lost a lot of business.

“Being blocked off from the other side of the street and not being able to get parked is putting people off big time.

“Also, one of our regulars said they weren’t sure if we were still open.”

Councillor Judy Hamilton, whose Kirkcaldy Central ward covers the High Street said the news was “concerning”.

She said: “This is very disappointing to hear.

“If the roadworks are having a detrimental effect then this is something that I’ll look into and see what was discussed during the consultation period.

“I’ll gladly meet with the traders and listen to their concerns.”