Hebburn businessman furious after work on energy scheme leaves companies 'cut off' just weeks after being able to reopen
A business owner claims he has been “cut off” by work on a green energy scheme – just weeks after being able to reopen following coronavirus restrictions.
Stuart Urwin owns a number of shops around Hebburn town centre, and was delighted to be able to reopen in April under the Government’s roadmap out of covid restrictions.
But he says work being carried out on a green energy scheme has been hampering trade.
As part of the construction for the project, the south side of Hebburn’s shopping centre and the car park have seen a high wooden fence has been put up.
Stuart said this is blocking the shops off from the road, leaving business owners worried it will put off customers.
South Tyneside Council said it has taken steps to mitigate the impact of the works.
But Stuart, who runs a number of companies including the Poss Tub Laundrette and South Tyneside Community Laundry, Sew Exquisite Clothing Alterations and Elite Dry Cleaners, said it was a blow firms did not need as they try to recover after covid lockdowns.
“We’ve only just been able to reopen and local businesses are losing trade because of this after being closed for a year,” he said.
"Councillors should have really looked at this and thought about it more before making a decision.
“It has totally cut our end of the shopping centre off. No one can see us from the road, which is where we get most of our trade. It’s just ridiculous.”
Work on the scheme is planned to last around six to nine months, and is expected to slash annual carbon dioxide emissions by hundreds of tonnes every year.
A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: "We take on board traders' concerns and have arranged for 'open as usual' signage to be erected at key points so it is visible from the road.
"This will remain in place for the duration of the works. We will continue to liaise with centre management and traders.”
The plans are part of South Tyneside Council’s climate change strategy and are expected to help the council meet its carbon reduction targets.