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No compensation for potential loss of trade for Leek town centre businesses over Derby Street road works

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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BUSINESSES will not be offered any compensation if their trade suffers during several months of town centre road works.

Last week workmen moved into to start different phases of work along Derby Street, Leek, as part of the completion of the highway changes which were approved along with Sainsbury's planning application to redevelop the Churnet Works off Macclesfield Road.

Before starting the works county council highway engineers held an open event where traders could speak to them about any issues surrounding the work.

Owner of the Town Crier Newsagents in Derby Street, Alan Lyford, visited the event asking if traders would be compensated for any loss.

He said: "I do not want anything that I am not entitled to, but I do believe that if traders suffer a loss of trade from the ongoing works we should be compensated.

"These are not road works; it is cosmetic work that has been forced upon us as many people did not want them.

"Therefore we should have the right to apply for compensation.

"Who is responsible for what we have lost?

"The council should not be able to create a problem that stops people coming to the town or getting to your shop.

"The public should have the right to have easy access to get to businesses.

"These works are driving people to other areas, yet we still have to pay business rates.

"In a letter I have now received from the highways engineer it states that some people could gain while others suffer, which I find totally wrong."

The letter Mr Lyford has received from highway engineers is a copy of a notice from the library at the House of Commons regarding compensation for the loss of business.

The notice said: "Relating specifically to road works, where a highway authority, as opposed to a utility, carries out works under a statutory power or duty and performs these properly, there will not at law be any liability on the authority for any loss of business.

"Owners of businesses have no right in law to a maintained level of passing trade. Temporary or permanent reductions in traffic flow are considered to be part of the risks of running a business.

"There is, too, an element of 'windfall' profit and loss.

"Often when one trader suffers a rival business in the neighbourhood stands to gain custom as a direct result of the same works."

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