Whetstone Bridge closure affects businesses

Businesses affected by the closure of a Leicestershire railway bridge have been encouraged to seek compensation.

The County Council said businesses should be entitled to seek compensation from the rail operator over the closure of Whetstone Bridge in Enderby Road.

One lane of the bridge has been closed to traffic since last May while owner Network Rail carried out repairs. Some firms say trade has gone down.

The bridge closed to traffic completely for four weeks from February.

Lesley Pendleton, the council's cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "National Rail don't legally have to pay any compensation but I would encourage local businesses to try because they have been so badly affected.

"I think they should be entitled to some."

Dean Porter, from car garage St Andrew's Services on the Enderby Road industrial estate, said his business had been badly affected.

"Since they started the work we've seen a decrease in the number of people coming in to the estate but when they closed the road a few weeks back we literally had no work at all for three weeks.

"It's cost us £13,000 in takings. We've got to look at getting compensation - we're not the biggest garage in the world, it's a worrying time for us."

Martin Thrower from SFB Tyres on the estate said a 20-minute journey to work was currently taking up to an hour and business was suffering from a lack of passing trade.

"We are down about £1,500 a day - it's affecting us big time," he said.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We apologise for any disruption, but there is no automatic right or precedent for being compensated for the inconvenience.

"Technical and safety issues caused delays which resulted in the bridge being closed for longer than anticipated."

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