Traders claim roadworks paving the way for a controversial shared space scheme in a town centre are “killing business”.
Work began in February on the first phase of the design, with Cowgate closed to vehicles between Townhead Bridge and Catherine Street for 12 weeks.
This week, business owners told the Herald takings were down by at least 10 per cent, with one claiming he is losing as much as £2,000 a week in takings.
One retailer said she has decided to shut up shop.
Jean Graham, of The Rag Doll at Cowgate, said: “I have been here for 48 years but I have decided not to renew my lease in November and retire instead. This shared space scheme is killing business.”
Stewart Walker, who owns a newsagent at Townhead, said: “The town is dead as a result of this. It’s absolutely hopeless.
“My takings are down by £2,000 a week. The bus stop outside my shop is not in use, so I don’t have this trade any more.
“Some customers have told me they are now going to retail parks where there is proper parking. These people will simply not come back.
“Nobody wanted this shared space. The council went ahead regardless. It is an utter shambles.”
Jacqui Fairbairn, of Gemini Cards at Cowgate, agreed and said: “Footfall is a lot lower and my takings are down by at least 10 per cent. It hasn’t helped the council has also shut off Union Street.”
Jim McPike, owner of Cafe Mariana at Cowgate has had to cope with a digger outside his restaurant since February.
He said: “My takings are also down by 10 per cent. I used to have a number of customers who were disabled. They have not been back.”
But Council boss Thomas Glen said: “It is not possible to deliver the investment and improvements people have requested for many years without disruption. but we are working with our contractors Rainton to minimise that. Our latest footfall figures show no significant downturn in the amount of people using the town centre - 80,375 in March 2016 compared to 80,866 in March 2015. Pedestrian access is being maintained, with arrangements in place for people using public transport and vehicles.”
He added the Council had been liaising with firms and residents, and support was available to traders through Business Gateway.