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Hartlepool business owner hits out at town revamp work

A Hartlepool business owner says work to improve the area is driving customers away.

Stephanie Aird, 49, who runs Stephanie’s Cafe-Bar-Shoppe, in Church Street, says the work by Hartlepool Borough Council works to develop the area is losing her money.

Stephanie's Cafe-Bar-Shoppe owner Stephanie Aird angry over Church Street business

Stephanie's Cafe-Bar-Shoppe owner Stephanie Aird angry over Church Street business

Church Street is set to remain closed for the next month as a £2m regeneration project is carried out to lay new kerbs and footpaths.

The road has been completely shut to traffic for several weeks while the bottom half of the road has been closed since November.

Stephanie, a former music teacher, said she has been left with no option but to close mid-week and is calling on the local authority to provide her and other affected businesses with compensation.

The mum-of-two said: “It is devastating. No one is coming down Church Street and I have only taken £40 in six weeks. I am not opening mid week as a result, only on weekends and no one is coming in even then.

Stephanie's Cafe-Bar-Shoppe owner Stephanie Aird angry over Church Street business

Stephanie's Cafe-Bar-Shoppe owner Stephanie Aird angry over Church Street business

“It is soul destroying. I just want the council to offer something in way of compensation.”

A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council said: “We are working as fast as we can to carry out these improvements and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the construction work.

“Recent poor weather conditions have caused a delay, but phase one is now nearing completion.

“The Economic Development Team is in the process of making arrangements to meet with small businesses in the Church Street area to determine if these works are having an impact.

Stephanie's Cafe-Bar-Shoppe owner Stephanie Aird angry over Church Street business

Stephanie's Cafe-Bar-Shoppe owner Stephanie Aird angry over Church Street business

“We will then consider potential options to support businesses on a temporary basis if this is necessary.

“In the meantime, the Council has helped 28 businesses (46%) on Church Street secure support via the small business rate relief scheme – meaning they don’t pay business rates.

“A further 14 businesses (23%) have no business rates to pay because the council has awarded exemptions in accordance with national rating regulations.

“These are much-needed improvements for the Church Street area – funded by £7.4m of external grant funding – and we are confident this work will create an attractive and revitalised environment in which businesses can flourish.”