Barking town centre roadworks 'killing our trade'
John Phillips MASSIVE roadworks in Barking town centre that are preparing the way for a �200 million bus route are infuriating shoppers and damaging business. Market traders and shops have reported a drop in sales of up to 40 per cent, with bargain hunters put off by a
MASSIVE roadworks in Barking town centre that are preparing the way for a �200 million bus route are infuriating shoppers and damaging business.
Market traders and shops have reported a drop in sales of up to 40 per cent, with bargain hunters put off by a series of invasive and "unsightly" barriers concealing the new East London Transit bus route that is due to link Barking and Dagenham Docks next year.
Newsagent boss Bharat Patel, 45, said travelcard sales had fallen from �20,000 to �13,000 a week since the works began in January.
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Sam Marquas, 33, who has sold watches and batteries at Barking Market for ten years, said an estimated 20 per cent had been wiped from takings.
Shopper Marieta Alexis, 44, of Upney Lane, Barking, said: "It's a bit of an eyesore and a pain." The barriers are due to come down in November.
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Mr Patel, of Island News and Wines in Station Parade, has considered applying for compensation in the form of a Council Tax rebate.
He said: "It's affected us on every angle. We have to go all the way back to park, it's not the same parking site. Shoppers are not bothered to come shopping."
Mr Marquas, of the Watch Batteries stall in Ripple Road, said: "There is too much construction work. It takes too much time. People are getting fed up. It should be kept as a high street, not as a bus lane."
A joint statement by Transport for London and Barking & Dagenham Council said: "The works in Barking Town Centre are a vital element of the East London Transit scheme and local residents and businesses will benefit from improved journey times and public realm improvements when the route opens in spring 2010. Works in the town centre will continue until November." Everything was being done to minimise disruption to businesses, it said.