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Recouping after works

By Emily Norman
[email protected]

Lansdowne’s First St businesses – one reported to have lost up to $20,000 in takings – will have their food licences reimbursed by the Masterton District Council following the shopping village upgrade.

Councillor Gary Caffell addressed a full council meeting on Wednesday asking why a letter from the shop owners, sent to the council chief executive, had not been passed onto councillors.

“In the letter the shop-owners said that because of the delays in the work that has gone on there, they have had considerable financial losses,” Mr Caffell said.

“One particular place, I’m told, has lost up to $20,000, another one $6000, and another one $5000.”

He said the writer of the letter had asked council to consider waiving the food licencing and trade fees for 12 months, or possibly a rates rebate for the term of the roadworks.

“I would have liked to see this correspondence come to council,” he said.

A council officer confirmed the food licencing fees would not be charged to the affected businesses.

One First St business owner, Janet King of Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese, said she was “still not convinced” of the revamp’s practicality, which had “so far not had any fiscal benefit to the businesses trading here”.

“I do have to say though, everyone who comes here is commenting that the space just looks very nice, clean, tidy, and open, and I agree,” she said.

“But a revamp which was supposed to take 12 weeks became a 6-month project, and as a business owner this has had a massive impact.

“I’m between $6000 and $8000 down from normal trading and have had to reduce staff hours.”

Dish Café co-owner Vicky Pope said the extended roadworks had “impacted everybody on First St”, but she sang the praises of Higgins staff who had been “very informative, clean and tidy with their work, and the communication to us was excellent”.

Lansdowne Sammies owner Lisa Kerr said the downturn was the hardest, “but now the roadworks is gone, business is slowly picking up”.

The First St Upgrade replaced part of the existing car park with a green space and paving, and power in the section of street was moved underground.

One resident said she was “delighted” with the slowing of traffic, thanks to the courtesy crossings at either side of the stretch.

“There’s also more street lighting now and an extra element of smartness,” she said.

The First St Shopping Village will officially be launched in the middle of October.

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