When Bijay Patel read a piece in my last column (March 21) which concerned compensation for some waterworks outside a store, he rang to ask if he might also qualify for compensation from disruptive roadworks.
His Worlds End Tobacconist trades in south-west London's long-term trendy area of the Kings Road. The council, which is also his landlord, has been building a new piazza. He had to close his store for three days at one point, but the ongoing disruption has lasted far longer. "The work was supposed to take six months, but it took a year altogether," he says, "and one of the shops in this parade went out of business."
He has talked to the council, but has been told there will be no compensation. It's tough when this happens. Bijay reckons that he has lost £30-£40K over the course of a year. Meanwhile, his rates and rent have gone up.
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do when the council decides to spend money on improving roads and pavements for the good of the community. Hopefully, an improvement programme should attract more visitors, but Bijay does not think this applies in his case.
All I could recommend was that he appeal for a reduction in his recently hiked rates. If your business is hit, through no fault of your own, then you are entitled to apply for this meagre form of 'compensation'. Councils have also been known to fork out for a bit of compensation when there is enough fuss made by campaigning locals.
Has any reader had any success in claiming compensation? I'm sure other retailers would like to hear about it.