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Jim’s left counting the cost

A CHESTER businessman is counting the cost of roadworks after the main road to his retail outlet was closed for eight weeks recently.

Jim Law who owns Chester Golf Centre in Saltney said there has been a number of disruptions in the 22 years he has been on the site but he has never known anything as bad as this.

Work started in mid January to add a cycle path along the Chester Road and the work has virtually closed Jim’s business. “There was virtually no one here from January until earlier this month. “The detour is five or six miles so it’s caused a real headache as most customers simply haven’t bothered making the journey.

“January and February are normally fairly quiet but not this quiet,” said the 60-year-old who reckons the roadworks may have cost his business up to £30,000. Jim, from Sandiway, is trying to get the council to give him relief on the rates and to provide compensation for the business loss. He explained: “It’s also the consequential loss that can get forgotten. People get used to going somewhere else and some of them may never return.”

The roadwork’s, which are now complete, come on the back of further work early last year when a burst water main caused five months of problems. This was then followed by further disruption when an electricity line was being added. “At least back then there were traffic lights and you could still get past. The latest work meant the road was simply closed in one direction.

“I’m the only retailer that’s really been affected.” Jim, who is hoping to retire this year, says the timing could not have been worse as the business is up for sale. “

A councillor working on our behalf said they do sympathise and are working on getting some sort of compensation but we still don’t yet know what we will receive,” said the Scotsman, originally from Dundee. “It’s just suicidal the amount of roadworks we’ve had on this road over recent times. We have lots of British Aerospace employees that pop up to hit some balls on the driving range during their lunch break because the huge factory is only a mile down the road. They’ve not been here because of the diversion.”

The golf centre’s car park that is normally at least half full of cars is being used by the workmen to store their equipment. Access to the entrance to the centre has remained open but a huge pile of soil was dumped nearby and left there for five weeks, which made it almost impossible to see the driveway, claims Jim.

The latest traffic chaos marks the end of a tough few months for Jim who was also broken into last October. “The whole thing has just been disastrous what with the roadworks of 2014, the break-in and now this.” Jim, the brother of Wirral Ladies Golf Club professional Angus, remains upbeat despite all the problems.

“The business will come back to what it was now that we’re fully accessible again and I’m looking forward to that. “We have three different people interested in buying the business and hopefully a deal can be done soon.”

In the meantime Jim plans a big clearance sale to try and get customers coming back to the once thriving store.