Storm over trade loss

UNHAPPY shopkeeper Henna Ahmed.
UNHAPPY shopkeeper Henna Ahmed.

Calls are being made to speed up repairs to a storm-damaged building after six months of disruption in Bellshill town centre.

Traders spoke this week of their frustration at the prolonged loss of business and North Lanarkshire Council was urged to put pressure on insurance companies to get the work completed in the interests of public safety.

Scaffolding was put up at the tenement building in Hamilton Road after a wall collapsed shortly before Christmas.

A couple had a lucky escape when debris crashed through the roof of their first floor flat above the shops.

The damaged properties are all privately owned and although some repairs have been done the insurance situation is complex and issues still have to be ironed out.

Traders say they have no idea when the scaffolding will be taken down.

Henna Ahmed had to close her clothing and accessories shop for a week after the storm and said business has been hit ever since.

She said: “I expected the work to take maybe three months, but not this long. The recession’s bad enough, but how long is a business supposed to survive like this? I’m losing trade, but I still have rent and other bills to pay.”

North Lanarkshire Council officials say they can’t get involved, but Bellshill councillor Harry McGuigan is demanding action.

He said: “This is hitting traders and the scaffolding is causing the normal traffic jams in Hamilton Road to be even worse.

“There is an increased risk to drivers and pedestrians. It comes down to a question of public safety and I find it very disturbing if officials are saying the council has no remit here.”

Full story in this week’s Bellshill Speaker, out now.