Roadworks ‘killing’ my business

The Peel Road roadworks in Douglas and access lane leading to 1st Class Motors at the bottom of Ballakermeen Drive

The Peel Road roadworks in Douglas and access lane leading to 1st Class Motors at the bottom of Ballakermeen Drive

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The owner of a motor repair business in Peel Road in Douglas has said the ongoing roadworks in the area are ‘killing’ its trade.

The £4.3m project on Peel Road is one of the biggest projects seen in the Isle of Man in recent years.

It began in March last year and was originally expected to take 80 weeks to complete but is hoped to be finished in March.

But 1st Class Motors owner Rikki Murphy says that fencing related to the roadworks limiting access to his business has led to a lack of trade.

‘It’s hard to measure how much I’m losing but I have noticed the decline in my monthly takings,’ he said. ‘We’re hemorrhaging money at the moment.

‘I’ve asked to be compensated but the Department of Infrastructure just said the roadworks were being done to benefit my business.

‘I contacted [Infrastructure Minister] David Cretney and my insurance company but got no response, although Mr Cretney has now agreed to come and meet me on Friday at our offices.’

Other businesses such as Waltons and McDonald’s have reported a downturn in trade since the roadworks began.

Mr Murphy has a list of grievences with the way the whole project has been handled.

He said: ‘There was no planning put forward, traffic lights, cones, road layouts aren’t announced very often, the scheme was rushed at Christmas time, making it two-way so no shops in Strand Street suffered, but they haven’t helped the businesses on Peel Road – it’s been killing my business.

‘It’s all seemed completely unorganised and I’ve been left to suffer with no compensation.’

Asked about Mr Murphy’s situation, a DoI spokesperson said: ‘As far as the current work being carried out at the access road to 1st Class Motors is concerned, these works are to construct new manholes to facilitate private development.

‘Although this work is within the curtilage of the highway scheme, the work is not being carried out by the department, but by a third party contractor working for the developer. DoI staff have assisted in the co-ordination of the traffic management measures to facilitate the manhole construction. The day-to-day site activities are being managed by the developer’s contractor, Stephen Christian & Sons Limited.

‘I understand that the developer had originally planned to do this work later in the year but because of the Peel Road project the work has been moved forward.

‘If the developer had not taken the current opportunity to make the drainage connections he would not have been able to do so for two years.

‘I can confirm that Mr Murphy has been kept fully informed about the progress of the works, and the associated traffic management implications, throughout the project by department staff. And, in addition, engineers from Stephen Christian have visited him to discuss the specific arrangements relating to their manhole construction works.’

Stephen Christian & Sons Limited were contacted for comment but hadn’t responded by the time the Manx Independent went to press.

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