'No customers for a week': Disruptive building work at Ilford Station leave businesses struggling
PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 February 2020
Ilford shop owners claim they have been left struggling for business after a footpath outside their shopfronts was closed so that Crossrail upgrade works could be completed on Ilford Station.
The footpath outside a row of shops in Cranbrook Road and Ilford Hill has been blocked off while the first week of Crossrail upgrades are carried out at the station.
Demolition of the station entrance is now complete, but the upgrades are not expected to be complete until December.
But a group of nine business owners say that although they were told the footpath outside their stores would be closed for a week - with some saying they were not warned of the closure - it has not been reopened.
Rafi Niazi owns a restaurant, an opticians, a phone shop and a grocery store in Cranbrook Road and has been forced to pay his staff out of his own pocket.
"The footpath is closed so people can't get to our shops," he said. "We've kept our shops open, but there are no customers.
"I have four members of staff. How do I pay them when we have no customers?"
The footpath has been closed since January 22 and was due to open on January 29.
"We were not told that it would be closing in the first place," he said. "Now it hasn't been reopened and we are struggling.
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Nine shops are affected by the footpath closure, Mr Niazi said.
"We are waiting outside our shops because there is nothing to do here," he said.
"I have had to pay my staff out of my own pocket because we have lost so much business."
Priyal Patel from Eye Care Opticians said: "I have been sitting here since it closed and we have had two customers.
"They completely blocked off the footpath and there's not even any work going on in front of our shops.
"We don't understand why it's closed down to where our shops are when we are not near the station.
"We are not getting any deliveries either because people think we are closed.
"Our businesses are really struggling."
The shopkeepers have asked the council to install a temporary crossing after seeing people climbing over the blockades and walking in the road to get to the station.
"People are still walking up the station and then having to turn around when they see it's closed," Ms Patel said. "There are no signs saying it is closed. We need a temporary crossing here."