Calls for compensation as trade sinks on flooded Finsbury street
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 July 2011 | UPDATED: 10:07 15 July 2011
»Businesses in a road that remains closed weeks after it was flooded by a burst water main say trade is sinking – and at least one is demanding compensation.
Traders in St John Street, Finsbury, have been struggling to keep their heads above water since the pipe blew on June 25.
One shopkeeper said business has plunged by 50 per cent – while the owner of the restaurant next door said he has seen thousands of pounds go down the drain.
Bhaudak Shah, shopkeeper at Local Express, said: “It has had a big impact on our business. We have half the people coming in now, so it’s difficult to make enough money.
“I’m worried the road is not going to be fixed any time soon.”
There is still a big hole in the middle of St John Street, more than two weeks after floods of water and rubble gushed down the street.
At the time, residents said the water flowed three feet high and likened it to a “tsunami”. The road then turned into a crime scene for several hours as police analysed washed up bones to confirm they were not human.
Lucca Sacca, owner of Renaissance Bar and Restaurant, said: “The work is just outside my door and I have really suffered.
“No one wants to sit at the tables outside, and there are big signs at either end of the road saying it’s closed, so hardly anyone is walking past, on top of the complete lack of traffic.
“I have lost at least £4,000 and I should get compensation.”
Mobeen Rehman, who runs King’s Store, which is further up St John Street away from the closed section of the road, said even his business has been hit.
He said: “Passing trade has slowed down because there’s no through road. I’ve lost about a fifth of my customers.”
Clerkenwell ward councillor Raphael Andrews (Labour) said: “I can’t understand why it should take Thames Water this long to fix it.
“It has had a major impact on people, but they don’t seem to appreciate that. I’m worried it’s going to be several months before it’s sorted.”
He added that the diversion of the 153 bus from St John Street has caused problems for elderly people who rely on the route.
A spokeswoman for Thames Water said: “The complex utility network under St John Street has caused delays, meaning the road is still closed while we repair the burst main.
“We are hoping to have the road finished and the site cleared by Monday and are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.
“Customers with compensation claims are being dealt with on an individual basis.”