'No-one told me road I work on will shut for months - now I'm fearing for my future'

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 22 Jan 2018

An anxious trader in Bankside is fearing for the future of his business after a three-month road closure was announced without any prior consultation.

Nick King, who owns car repair firm NPK Auto Centre, is upset that business owners on the busy stretch have only just been informed about the impending road closure.

Drivers will face months of delays as this road is closed to strengthen Hull's flood defences

The Environment Agency announced on Wednesday they will shut the road from February 19 until the beginning of May as part of their flood defence project.

Now, after a thriving first 18 months on Bankside, Mr King fears any successes achieved by his business could be wiped out by the closure.

The 46-year-old said: “It’s a massive shock and it seems to undo all the hard work we’ve done.

“I don’t know what a road closure does to a business but I heard bad stories about the city centreand the bollards.

“People were going out of business and I heard lots of horror stories.

“I’m 46 so I need to think about retirement and the future. It seems dramatic but these thoughts are all going through my head.

“We are just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and all of a sudden it is like someone has frozen all our hard work and said ‘you are going to have to build it all up again.’”

A section of Bankside from Clough Road to Air Street will be closed from February 19 to May 2 as part of a £36.5m flood defence project.

Mr King, who moved his business to Bankside from Reservoir Road a year and a half ago, said he has talked to workmen over the last few months about the work set to be carried out.

The Bankside road closures

He was told that his business was situated on one of the highest points of the riverbank and was therefore not at risk of flooding.

He claims that there was never any mention of any section of Bankside being closed prior to Friday, January 19, when he was visited by someone from the Environment Agency.

“When I was told it put the fear of god in me. I went to speak to neighbours and nobody was aware of it.

“I wondered if my letter had got lost in the post. It would have been nice to have been told sooner – at least just out of courtesy.

“It’s a £36m project but not one person had the decency to tell us what they were planning.”

The Environment Agency said businesses and residents were informed about a schedule of road closures that may cause disruption to their livelihoods.

Nick thinks his business will suffer from a lack of passing trade

Brendan Sharkey, project manager at the agency, said: “As part of the Environment Agency’s planning around the River Hull Defences Scheme, we have been informing businesses and residents that the scheme will require a schedule of road closures and that this may cause some disruption while the work is being carried out.

“We are, of course, working to keep any disruption to a minimum and we do appreciate the community’s understanding as we progress this important scheme.

“As part of our project planning, we use different methods of engaging with all relevant parties, including media, social media, letters and personal visits.

“Firms on Bankside were visited this week as planned, to talk to them about the road closures a month before the work begins on 19 February.”

Although Mr King’s business is not in the closed section of Bankside, he is worried about the impact that could be caused by a reduction in passing trade.

Nick says the road closure could undo all of his team's hard work in the last 18 months

“Our loyal customers don’t allow us to develop further – they just pay the bills,” he said.

“It’s the new customers that I am relying on to get me out of the debt I am in from building this place.

“Our success is down to our new location and we’ve doubled our turnover in the last 18 months which tells us that passing trade is profitable.

“We’ve invested in new advertising in and around the building and we are going to lose that for three months because there will be no passing trade.”

Any businesses or residents who have any queries about the flood works or the associated road closures at Bankside are urged to contact the Environment Agency by emailing RiverHullDefences@environment-agency.gov.uk.

Signs saying "businesses open as usual" will be in place by the roundabouts at the north and south end of Bankside for the durations of the works.

Read more: Today's main headlines from Humberbusiness.com 

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