A taxi company owner claims the delays to the Tonbridge High Street improvement works have cost his firm up to £10,000 in lost trade.
Terry Hill is petitioning area MP Tom Tugendhat to explore if ‘even a token gesture’ of several hundred pounds compensation would be payable by Kent County Council (KCC).
However, when the Times contacted KCC to clarify if the county will consider payments to traders, a spokesperson confirmed that according to Government policy there are no legal requirements for the local authority to pay compensation for highways works.
Mr Hill, of Castle Taxis, who has traded in Tonbridge for more than 20 years, said the long-term benefit of the works would be welcome, but it had caused his business, and several others, significant losses.
The High Street will reopen to traffic tomorrow (May 19), but Mr Hill said: “The one-way system in place over the past few months has caused serious traffic delays. A journey that should be five minutes is taking 25 to 30 minutes, which means jobs costing £4 or £5 are now £10.”
Mr Hill explained that although the fares were higher, taxi drivers can only do a couple of jobs per hour, rather than five or six.
Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat has managed to get a response on the delays from KCC Leader Paul Carter, who confirmed the scheme would end this month.
“We are getting somewhere with this, though there have been some issues, which I do understand,” said Mr Tugendhat.
“But I have had various shops point out to me they have lost thousands of pounds over the delays.”
“KCC has given us a final deadline of the end of the month for it to complete the works, so we can look forward to the town centre returning to normal again.
“Tonbridge is a fantastic community, but we are hiding its light under a bushel in recent months because of what has been happening on the high street, which is not good enough,” said the MP, who added he did not wish the area to be seen as secondary to neighbouring towns as a result of its trading environment being affected.