Three quarters (75%) of independent retailers say trade is being detrimentally impacted by lockdown road closures, according to a survey by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira). Housewares and hardware stockists are among those suffering.
Amer Altayeb of Andaa Home in the centre of Sheffield said trade had been affected ‘significantly’ following post-lockdown road closures. Meanwhile Janet Swift of Swift’s Hardware and Home in Preston said: “Sales have plummeted after road closures were imposed without discussion.”
Bira conducted the members’ survey after many independent retailers from across the country contacted the team to express concerns about increased road closures impacting footfall. Bira is therefore calling on PM Boris Johnson to intervene and ‘give us back our high streets’.
In the survey, two thirds (66.1%) of respondents from across Bira’s membership said they had been affected by road closures – 80% of those closures had been put in place during lockdown or since restrictions were lifted.
Of those affected, 55% said their trade had been impacted ‘significantly’, while a further 20% admitted the closures had affected trade ‘a little’.
Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s ceo highlighted: “It would appear that local authorities have decided to keep shoppers safe by deterring them from visiting the high streets at all.
“All around the UK we are seeing temporary road closures put in place, and all around the UK we are hearing from members who are seeing their business disappear as a result.
“The changes have removed valuable parking spaces, reduced access and even made it impossible for people with disabilities to visit their favourite shops.
“Many of these closures have been done without proper consultation and without any thoughts to the business.
“The PM wants people to return to normal, so please give us back our high streets and remove these physical barriers to visiting the high street and shopping.”
Top: Warning of road closures on the approach to Sheffield’s city centre.