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Traders hit by Blackburn bus station closure
TRADERS in Railway Road, Blackburn, have asked the council for help to survive after the closure of the Boulevard bus station last month.
At least five have contacted the borough because of plunging customer numbers in the three weeks since it shut.
They claim it significantly worsened a sharp reduction in footfall after the closure of the subway opposite the Mall shopping centre because of the old market demolition.
They are asking Blackburn with Darwen borough for business rate relief and help towards the rent, heating and lighting costs until at least construction workers arrive on the site of the Cathedral Quarter development.
Building work is scheduled to start next month.
The Hake Boat fish and chip shop, Railway News, Remix clothing shop, Sound as a Pound discount Store and the Transit Lounge coffee bar and shop on the Railway Station have all appealed for assistance.
Hake Boat owner Zeti Ates said: “Since the council shut the subway trade has been falling but after the bus station closed the shop is dead.
“We used to be busy during the day, but hardly anyone comes in now.
“Hopefully when building starts business will pick up but I am having real trouble paying my bills. I just need a little help from the council to tide me over. I am already considering reducing my opening hours.
“If I don’t get some help I might have to close.”
Nighat Anwar, from the Transit Lounge, said: “Without help some businesses might not make it.
“We need something to keep us going till the building workers start on site.”
Sound as Pound deputy manager Sohel Vaid said: “Since the subway and the bus station closed footfall has disappeared. We may have to close in January if something is not done.”Nasim Patel of Railway News said: “We’re not asking for a long-term subsidy. We just want a bit of assistance while there is no trade through no fault of our own.”
Council regeneration boss Maureen Bateson said: "We are going through a lot of changes in the town centre which will ultimately have a hugely positive effect on the area.
“In the short term, construction work on the Cathedral Quarter and the bus station will be starting in November which will increase activity in the area.”
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