DUDLEY traders are facing a revamp recession during a major upgrade project in the central shopping area.
Disruption caused work is reported to have cut business by between 35 and 40 per cent and Dudley Council is coming under pressure to do more to ease the pain.
Tory councillor Tim Wright is calling for free parking during the works to encourage shoppers into Dudley before even big-name retailers suffer losses which force store closures.
However the idea was rejected by Dudley’s cabinet member for transport, cllr Khurshid Ahmed, who said: “The whole idea is to increase footfall, there has to be a price paid while the work is done. It is not possible to get rid of parking charges – that would cause a shortfall of £1.5m.”
Even good causes are feeling the effects, staff at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) furniture and electrical store in Castle Street say trade has dwindled because people think their shop is shut.
The charity is now appealing for residents to have a clear out and donate unwanted items including sofas, beds, dining tables, wardrobes and TVs to the store.
BHF Area Manager, Julie Taylor, said: “We absolutely rely on the support of the local community in Dudley to keep us running and without their generous donations and custom we risk reducing funding for vital research into heart disease.
“If each household were willing to spend just half an hour having a clear out and donating to their local BHF furniture and electrical store, they would be helping to save lives. It really is as simple as that.”
Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer and 100 per cent of the profits from BHF stores contribute to the charity’s research to beat coronary illness.
Last year BHF shops raised more than £31m and fundraisers hope people will donate their unwanted items rather than taking them to council rubbish dumps.
The charity will collect unwanted items for free, to arrange a collection call 0844 499 4147 or visit bhf.org.uk/free