Fears over roadworks outside shops in St Albans planned for payday weekend

Roadworks sign

Roadworks sign - Credit: Archant

Fears about the impact of roadworks outside shops on payday weekend have been raised by a city centre business owner who has accused the county council of not supporting businesses.

National Grid will be working to connect properties in George Street, St Albans, to gas this weekend, January 28 to 29, and four parking bays on the road will be suspended with two way traffic lights.

Owner of the shop Maison Hartley, Jane Hartley, warned it would “put people off” coming down the street, on a crucial trading day.

Jane, who thinks it is the “worst day in January” to do the work, said: “My issue is that we never got consulted, and if you asked me or anyone else around here we would say ‘please not on a Saturday’. Some shops are closed on a Monday for example.”

She pointed out that St Albans council was trying to encourage small independent businesses and bring in more tourism and shoppers to the city but having such work carried out this weekend was not supportive.

She went on: “Sometimes you come into work and there are lorries and it’s loud, and when you pay so much as we all do [for business rates], it feels as though everything is working against you.

“It can be difficult enough to get people down here, and this will put people off.”

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A spokesperson for National Grid said: “The work has been agreed with the local authority; we plan our work carefully and do all we can to deliver it with as little disruption as possible.

“The Highways Authority asked us to complete the work at a weekend or school holiday time due to traffic concerns regarding the local school.

“The job has already been delayed a number of times before so it was important to move forward with it.

“We arranged for the work to be done after the busy Christmas and New Year sales period to minimise disruption.”

He stressed that National Grid needed two days for the job so had to start the work on a Saturday.

A Herts county council spokesperson said: “The council advised National Grid that the works should be completed during a school holiday period or weekends, due to the fact that there are around 15 coaches which arrive and leave St Albans School in the morning and afternoon daily.

“These works are limited to the carriageway only - the footway will remain open at all times for shoppers to access the businesses.”