Bleak picture painted by Royston traders

A BLEAK summer picture has been painted by some Royston businesses with a salon owner predicting that Fish Hill Square’s three-month revamp will be the biggest challenge she has faced in 26 years of trading.

The �400,000 refurbishment will begin next month, to improve the area as a public space and will see the placing of a number of statues and benches.

But the traders The Crow spoke to were concerned that the work would severely affect their businesses.

Angela Glew, who has managed Archer & Co Hair Salon, in neighbouring Church Lane, for 26 years, said it was likely to be the toughest period she has known.

She said: “The work will affect business.

“If the area is going to have diggers that’s going to stop people considering coming round here.

“Getting a haircut is meant to be relaxing and if it’s noisy, people definitely won’t come round.

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“It will be the summer time and we won’t be able to open any windows because of the dust coming through – if you have clean hair you don’t want any dust in it – I have big concerns.

“It’s not rocket science – if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.”

The concerns were shared by neighbouring salon owner Mark Henricks, of Henrick’s Hairdressers, worried that the noise of the works and access problems would prove detrimental to trade.

He said: “It will affect business. We have got beauty rooms upstairs and they have to be quiet, so that’s going to stop a lot of business coming.

“I don’t think it’s going to be good when it’s finished. There will be fewer car parking spaces and there will be more places for young kids to hang out.”

The two beauty professionals are not alone in their worries, with the manager of discount supermarket Market One and the owner of Where Friends Stitch both claiming North Herts District Council’s project will affect the number of customers.

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning and enterprise, defended the project, saying the works, which are predicted to run from July 4 for 12 weeks, will not disrupt the town too much and the finished square will benefit Royston.

“We do understand the concerns of traders and residents based in Fish Hill Square, and we have worked with local people and businesses from the very outset of the project to take their needs into account,” he said.

“Throughout the 12 weeks of enhancement works, disruption will be kept to a minimum.

“Procedures will be put in place by Maylim, the contractors, to keep noise and dust levels as low as possible, and our environmental health team will monitor those procedures on site.

“Once the work is complete, the improved public space should see those traders based in the square benefit from more people in the area, making use of the services, shops and restaurants there.”