‘It takes a week to lose a business’ - Worst hit traders on closed street speak out
PUBLISHED: 15:46 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:11 19 September 2019
Traders who were forced to close after a dangerous building shut a main town centre street have said recovering from the loss of business has been difficult.
Shop owners first heard about the dangerous building on Norwich Street, Fakenham, when they were turned out of their stores at 3.30pm on Wednesday, September 11.
An inspection on 9 Norwich Street concluded it was dangerous, and the building remains empty.
Two stores remained closed on Thursday, with one of them badly damaged by crumbling brickwork.
Tenants of the upstairs flats are in limbo, as they have been told can only enter their homes at their own risk.
When the street was closed, Pizza Time takeaway was put behind barriers, with no access. It was closed until the street opened to pedestrians over the weekend.
Before the closure, the shop was shut for two weeks to allow owner Adin Urzica to recover from an operation for throat cancer.
His business took a hit in July, when it received a one-star food hygiene rating, but Mr Urzica says this was because staff didn't know enough English to show the right documents.
He said: "I was out making a delivery, and by the time I got back the inspector had gone. Now, we have replaced the staff. If I didn't care about my business, I wouldn't be here now."
Mr Urzica applied for a re-inspection.
When asked how business had been affected by the closure, manager Ciprian Voina said: "We should be busy right now, but look around, there are only two orders. People come from nearby villages to pick up food here, but they think they can't park up outside so they haven't come. Things have sort of snowballed."
Barriers on the street also blocked access to The Wisteria tea rooms, where lunchtime trade was "excellent" on the first day of the closure. Optimism faded after their alternative access was closed, and the shop was shut until Norwich Street fully reopened.
Owner Samantha Holsey said: "I just want people to know we're open, because the barriers on the street in front makes it look as though we're not. We have some people in, we're still making cups of tea, but not two at a time like usual.
"The district council have kept their promises. Trouble is, it takes years to build a business, and a week to lose it."