Hornchurch shopkeepers say that one way system is ruining their business
�Hornchurch traders say trade has fallen by up to 50 per cent due to the part closure of the High Street because of an unstable building.
The shopkeepers have complained about the one-way system, introduced due to work on the building, which they say has hit passing trade.
David Murphy, one of the owners of butcher Michael’s of Hornchurch, said: “Business is hard as it is without dealing with this.
“This has had a terrible knock-on effect on our businesses and it has just transformed our High Street into an alleyway.”
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A one-way system had to be set up a few weeks ago after fears that the building would collapse.
The system means that buses are diverted around the back of the High Street, cutting out a number of stores.
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Toby Clark, who runs The Sweet Store, said passers-by no longer enter shops and he also misses out on passing trade from schoolchildren.
He said: “We are all really lazy and do not like walking a long way, so you can’t blame the mums and the elderly people who are being dropped so far away.
“They just don’t want to walk so far just to use the shops, but at the same time we have still got to struggle to survive.”
Last week a sign went up at the top of the High Street telling shoppers that the stores were open for business as usual, but the traders claim it has made little difference.
They are seeking answers about how long the one-way system will be in place.
Mr Clark said: “The council are doing what they can to try to protect this unstable building but there has been a lack of communication because they haven’t told us how long the diversions are going to last for.”
Council leader Cllr Michael White said he has personally visited traders. “I do understand their frustrations. We are doing all we can to return the traffic flow back to normal as soon as possible. We have written to the traders in the area advising them of the situation and will continue to keep them up to date.”