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Roadworks could cost local shop "thousands"

Roadworks could cost local shop

Friday 24 May 2019

Roadworks could cost local shop "thousands"

With Le Grand Bouet due to close for a total of more than two months this summer, the owner of family-run Creature Comforts has once again been left worrying about her shop's future.

Michelle Botes has been running the store in Le Grand Bouet for eight years and is preparing for another business hit due to roadworks in the area.

"I'm worried for our future if I'm honest," she said. "I did a Facebook appeal a couple of months ago and people really stood behind us. Business got a lot better. Then they closed the road for three days and immediately we saw the takings go down. Three days we can cope with, but nine weeks - that's a lot of business days. I'm not sure how it's going to work."

The first set of works will see the road closed for the majority of June while Guernsey Water prepares for "essential sewer lining". That will then take place towards the end of the summer and is expected to last for around five weeks.

"The problem we have is that it's such a built-up area that if you can't get in that end for instance, you're not going to want to drive all the way round, you're just going to stop at Pets At Home," Ms Botes continued.

"Before Pets At Home opened the roadworks were a problem but not as much as they are now, because people would persevere to get to us whereas now they can just go over there. They might spend a few more quid but if it means sitting in traffic for another half an hour you can't blame them."

Le Grand Bouet

Pictured: La Grand Bouet will close for a total of around 9 weeks.

Despite having spoken with deputies, Ms Botes said there is "no interest at all" and, "it's almost like they don't really care whether I'm here or not!"

As a result of losses related to roadworks, Creature Comforts has had to reduce staff hours and let some employees go.

"I'm just very frustrated with the whole thing," Ms Botes added. "Since we've been here they've had two major developments. They've developed the Bouet and they've also done the Warry's site. I don't see why this couldn't have been done at the same time. It seems to me that every time it's closed it is for a different reason. Why couldn't they just get together and try and sort it out? Why can't they do a little bit more evening work so there's access in the days? I'm sure there are reasons but it just seems that no one cares."

Ms Botes is planning to increase the shop's opening hours later into the evening while the roadworks are taking place to make it easier for customers to avoid traffic. Creature Comforts is also planning to make the most of its free customer delivery service during the closures.

"I'm not saying that people should only come to my pet shop," said Ms Botes. "I wish they would support all the other local pet shops.

"Pets At Home are allowed to come in and take everyone else's business and I just think that's sad - and they wonder why there's no local businesses left. What's happening is they're taking away the choice from the consumer, because if I have to close down and the other pet shops follow suit, then they've only got Pets At Home."

The first set of road closures will begin on 3 June.

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