If you have ever had roadworks outside your store you’ll spare a thought for Julian Taylor-Green. They lasted six months, from last September to the end of March. When Julian rang me, way back in February, to see whether he had left any avenues unexplored as it were, I had to say no.
Had he got up a petition? Yes. Had he notified the local newspapers? Yes. Had he recruited the neighbouring businesses to his campaign? Yes. Had he tackled the council/his MP? Yes. He had even started a loyalty scheme.
His Londis trades in the Hampshire village of Lindford, which has fewer than 3,000 residents but is on the road to places like Farnborough so he relied in part on passing trade.
Julian’s sales were knocked for six after traffic calming bumps were created, new conduit laid to bury cables and access to the store restricted for four months. Then the road out of the village was closed, in order to widen it, by the neighbouring parish, which didn’t think to inform local businesses of their intention to do so.
Julian said back in February: “It was deeply frustrating in that none of these guys engaged with us.”
His bakery sales plummeted from £1,400 to £800. Only his alcohol sales held because the limited access was lifted at night and on weekends. There was a bit of respite in April when the warm sun came out but, as we all know, that soon fizzled out.
When I caught up with him in mid-July he described the situation as still “very challenging”.
He is currently waiting for his accounts in order to pursue rate relief (receipts, photographic evidence and so on it will take a few months to assemble it all).
He has sent out the new ‘newsletter’-style leaflets from Londis to everyone in the village. He and his wife and their 15 local employees have collectively crossed their fingers.