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FSB calls for rates relief for firms worst affected by A6MARR project

The Federation of Small Businesses responds to the opening of the long delayed A6MARR airport relief road *W/C Oct 15, which has caused major delays in parts of Stockport, Cheshire and Manchester. 

Robert Downes, FSB Development Manager for Greater Manchester, said: “The opening of this new road and the end of all the associated traffic works can’t come soon enough for the very many businesses affected by this long delayed project.

“It’s now high time local authorities look at how they can help the businesses most affected by this hugely disruptive project. Over the last 18 months as the works intensified, businesses have had to contend with chaos on local roads which has reduced footfall, caused a significant lull in trade for many, and generally hindered routine day-to-day operations and adding costs. 

“I have spoken to a number of business who say the traffic issues really hit their bottom line, forcing some to reduce staff hours, or even let staff go. In most instances though it’s just been a case of businesses having to suck it up and take the hit. 

“I would urge councils to take a holistic look at what they can now do to help businesses recover from what has been a very testing number of years, and that should extend to some form of rate relief where applicable. For high street retailers in the worst affected districts, councils should also be exploring ways to encourage shoppers back in to centres and areas where they have actively avoided because of traffic problems, and that might well include concessions for car parking charges.”   

“In future, communities must be better informed about these types of works, and the scale of the disruption expected. Councils must demand more from contractors to ensure these projects are much more sensitive to the impact they have on business, and bring them to book if that isn’t happening. An infrequently updated website and a ‘hotline’ that goes unanswered when it’s rung is not good enough.”

*Road is anticipated to open W/C Oct 15