‘Roadworks are harming my business’

Priya Kumanan from Catsfield Village Shop is annoyed at the ongoing roadworks outside her shop. SUS-190128-134641001
Priya Kumanan from Catsfield Village Shop is annoyed at the ongoing roadworks outside her shop. SUS-190128-134641001

A shopkeeper has accused an internet provider of harming her business by repeatedly carrying out roadworks opposite her shop.

Priya Kumanan, who runs the Catsfield Village Shop on The Green, Catsfield, says Openreach keeps closing the road to carry out the works, which is causing customers to stay away.

Ms Kumanan said: “They constantly keep closing the road and my business is being affected because of this.

“My shop takings have fallen dramatically. Nothing is happening.”

Since August 12 last year, Openreach has returned to the site ten times to carry out work, sometimes for several days at a time, with engineers returning without warning on Monday morning.

Ms Kumanan said: “They closed my bit of the road and put temporary lights outside my shop so no one can come to park here.

“They did not even ask us, they do not tell us anything, they just keep closing and opening that manhole so many times.”

Ms Kumanan criticised the firm for its lack of communication.

She said: “They do not have the courtesy to come and tell us they are sorry for disturbing our business, how long for or anything.”

Ms Kumanan added: “It’s a busy Monday morning and they closed the road.

“My staff are just standing there. No one is about today.

“They should know Monday first thing is a busy day and the Post Office should be busy with people coming in for pensions.”

She added: “It’s really stressing me because we have to pay the mortgage, bills and everything.”

An Openreach spokesperson said: “We’re really sorry that there has been recurring traffic disruption in the village of Catsfield due to our engineering works.

“The works have been ongoing as we are building superfast fibre broadband infrastructure in the area.

“The technology we’re building will bring some of the best broadband speeds in the UK to the area but the engineering challenges are complex and we’ve had to work on the site on several occasions.

“We’re especially sorry the work has caused problems for the Catsfield Village Store.

“We’ve apologised to Ms Kumanan in person and will now do our best to arrange any future traffic management for a time that doesn’t affect her trade.”