'They look disgusting': Calderdale shop owner says work barriers are 'detrimental' to town centre
A Calderdale shop owner has asked for council work barriers to be removed while businesses financially recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
John Murphy, 42, owner of fine wine and cheese store Czerwik, on Commercial Street, Brighouse said work barriers, which were put up just before his shop reopened in late June, have been 'detrimental' to his business' recovery.
The bright-coloured barriers run through the town's main shopping centre and have been introduced by Calderdale Council to provide 'safe facilities for pedestrians and cyclists' after shops reopened for the first time in three months.
Mr Murphy said: "With the introduction of these barriers, the council removed parking on Commercial Street.
"I think this has been one of the main reasons why my business is 50 percent down on takings.
"Some businesses have had to make staff redundant, so we're trying to see if there could be any other alternative rather than taking all the parking of Commercial Street.
"Areas such as Kirklees have benefited from free parking so we'd like to introduce it in Brighouse too."
Mr Murphy said he and other business owners have performed their own health and safety and risk assessment, which showed a 'small risk'.
"Our assessment showed the risk being small compared to the detrimental affect this has had on business," said Mr Murphy.
"We want a voice to get rid of the barriers. They look disgusting and it's not enticing people to visit the town centre.
"I've owned my business for 25 years and I've never seen it this bad before.
"After everything thrown at Brighouse town centre this year, we need help otherwise these barriers could be the final nail in the coffin for the high street by Christmas."
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Resources, councillor Jane Scullion said: “As Covid-19 is still within our community, we should all continue to keep at least two metres away from people outside our households wherever possible.
“We have removed the parking on some roads across the borough, including Commercial Street in Brighouse, to provide safe facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
"Our priority is people’s safety and by expanding pavements to create a safe environment for social distancing, we hope to give people the confidence to go out and spend money in our local area.
"Observations show that pedestrian activity is expanding into these areas and we'll continue to monitor usage moving forward.
“We know that placing barriers isn’t the most attractive way to expand the pavement area.
"We’ve listened to feedback about this issue and as such, we’ll soon be replacing the barriers on Commercial Street with planters.
“All of the changes are temporary and we’ll continue to listen to feedback from residents and businesses and will adapt the schemes where possible.
"However, we will be living with Covid-19 for the foreseeable future and reducing the spread of the virus continues to be our primary concern.”