The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling for better control over roadworks because of the damage they can cause to local retailers.

The call came after the publication of a report by the Local Government Association (LGA) demonstrating the harm that roadworks and street closures can cause.

According to the report, repairs to poorly relayed surfaces by utility company contractors cost taxpayers £218m a year.

The report also reveals the findings of a survey of hundreds of high street businesses conducted jointly by the LGA and ACS.

Key findings in the report include:

  • 57% of shops have had street works nearby over the past three years.
  • 72% of these were negatively affected by street works, with issues including forced closure, delivery delays, reduced footfall and reduced sales.
  • 43% were affected for at least a month, with 9% at least six months.
  • 31% say street works reduced their footfall by at least a quarter, with at worst some losing about 2,500 customers a week.
  • Half say they lost at least 10% of sales, with at worst some losing about £7,500 a week.
  • 96% would like to see councils given enough power to ensure roads are returned to the proper standard after street works, and 79% believe utility companies should help finance the resurfacing.

Speaking at an LGA meeting on the launch of the report, ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said: “We welcome this new research and the LGA’s initiative in looking at this issue.

“Street works can cost convenience retailers dearly by obstructing access and footfall to their business and undermining regular passing trade. More has to be done to ensure that businesses are consulted about upcoming street works and where necessary compensated if they over run.”