Leeds store owner says city centre roadworks are “a necessary evil”

Image of construction on the Headrow

Leeds business owners describe Headrow construction as “necessity” that will “improve the area” despite the initial effect on business.

Construction being carried out on the Headrow
Employees of Forbidden Planet say the construction has affected them at work “and the stink of tarmac. That gave me a headache, that did”

Many of the most-used roads in Leeds City Centre are currently under massive repair or renovations work. Despite long delays and disruptions, some suggest the construction will lead to more foot-traffic for businesses.

Muhammad Ammeer, the proprietor of Ryan’s convenience store said this of the renovations: “There’s nothing really we can do about it.

“The work on the pipe, it’s a necessity really, and the rest of the work, it’ll improve the area, you understand?”

He added: “Passing trade is a bit affected, but if you look at the small picture, yeah, you get angry.

“But if you look at over five years it will be nice. Well-lit, new pavements and everything.”

Buses are also affected by the traffic caused by roadwork, many experiencing delays or having to change route.

Malik Ehtisham Al-Haq, who has been a driver for Uber for three years, said the roadworks are increasing costs, both for his business and for customers.

“It costs me money, it costs you money,” he said.

“The only person it doesn’t cost money is the guy selling petrol. Then the council makes money from him paying tax.”

“The price of getting an Uber has gone up, but mostly because I have to drive all around the city to get around the roadworks.”

He added: “There are always roadworks going on. Always! And they say that they’ll be done by a certain time and they’re not. When they do eventually go, more come up somewhere else”.

Navigation of the roads has become more complicated, with cars having to merge into the busy lanes over pedestrian footpaths.

It’s not just drivers being affected, many local businesses have also been hurt by the construction.

The employees of local comic book shop, Forbidden Planet, who have chosen not be named claim the construction has had a direct impact on foot-traffic.

“We have seen a drop in footfall coming up to Christmas.”
Emergency services are also being held up by the increased traffic, despite Leeds Council claiming that they have allowed “emergency access.”

The roadworks on the Headrow and surrounding roads are said to be completed as late as October 2020, or September 2021 in some cases, according to Leeds City Council.

About the Author

Harry McCann and Kieran Owen
Students at Leeds Beckett and reporters for Leeds Now

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