Crawley trader fears loss of money over gas work

Douglas Aziku SUS-140205-092702001
Douglas Aziku SUS-140205-092702001

Staff at a High Street bar fear they are in for a disastrous summer due to more than two months of gas main work which will be carried out.

Southern Gas Networks (SGN) will start work on Monday (May 12) to reinforce the pipe which runs the length of the road and the trenches needed will pass yards from the doors of High Street businesses.

SGN said the work would take around 12 weeks to complete.

Douglas Aziku, assistant manager at Octopvs, predicted the bar would lose thousands of pounds of business while the work was carried out.

While acknowledging the work needed to be done, he said he only found out about the plans because one of the stall holders at the market showed him a letter which had been handed to them.

Mr Aziku said: “I only found out because I have good neighbours. I don’t think it’s fair that we get so little notice.”

Among the concerns raised by Mr Aziku was the safety of door staff, who he felt would have too little room to work with when it came to ejecting any troublemakers from the bar.

He also worried about the loss of an area in front of the bar which offered outdoor seating and acted as a smoking zone.

He said: “How many people will be able to use the furniture outside?

“Summer in this country does not last long without losing business to this.”

SGN spokesman Hannah Brett said: “This is essential work to ensure a continued safe and reliable gas supply to Crawley town centre.

“We will be doing everything we can to minimise disruption and we will ensure our works take up as little room as possible.”

She added the work would progress along the High Street in small sections – rather than one large trench – running from Ifield Road towards Orchard Street.

SGN assured people all excavations would be secured by Heras fencing “to ensure everyone’s safety”.

Southern staff met with town centre manager Alfrdo Mendes on Friday (May 2) to bring Crawley Borough Council up to date with how the work would progress.