Birmingham & Black Country

Cradley Heath shop owners' anger over road widening

Cradley Heath roadworks
Image caption Parts of the A4100 Reddal Hill Road has been restricted to one way traffic since October last year

Shop owners in a West Midlands town have said their businesses have suffered a drop in trade during months of roadworks.

Both carriageways of Reddal Hill Road in Cradley Heath are due to re-open on Monday following 11 months of work.

Some shops made staff redundant as takings dropped while the road was restricted to one-way traffic.

Sandwell Borough Council said the £3.5m widening work has made the road safer and was finished three months early.

Warren Rudge, owner of Ivan's Fish and Chip Shop, said he wants compensation from the council.

Bank loan

He said: "I can't understand how the council can get away with ruining people's livelihoods and not paying anything.

"I've had to take out a bank loan to pay staff because I didn't want to make anyone redundant.

"I'll be paying for this road five years after all the workmen clear off."

Sue Weston, the owner of John Jones shoe shop in Cradley Heath, said she made a member of staff redundant in November last year after takings dropped by around 30%.

She said: "To make someone redundant just before Christmas is a terrible thing.

'Narrow road'

"We want some help advertising, a big article, telling people the road is now open again."

Derek Rowley, Sandwell Borough Council cabinet member for neighbourhood services, said the work was carried out after a lengthy consultation with residents and businesses.

"It was a narrow, old Black Country road and very busy with pedestrian crossings and right hand turns causing more congestion.

"We had to make the road a one-way street to get the work done, but we listened to businesses and have done all we can and have completed the work ahead of schedule."

'Big impact'

James Morris, the Conservative MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, visited traders in Cradley Heath last week and said the possibility of compensation should be explored.

He said: "It needs to be potentially considered - the disruption has had a very big impact on businesses."

The scheme, between Old Hill and Cradley Heath, involved widening Reddal Hill Road and Upper High Street.

Parts of the route were made one way in October 2010.

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