A MASSAGE parlour on the outskirts of Chester is seeking compensation from the Highways Agency alleging loss of trade due to roadworks.
The business, known as The Bungalow, hit the headlines in November after it emerged the Highways Agency had erected temporary signs directing customers to the parlour during the upheaval.
Owner Bonita Westgarth has successfully applied for the massage parlour in Welsh Road, Woodbank, to be granted lawful development status giving her the green light to apply for compensation.
She said in a letter to Chester City Council: “Since the commencement of roadworks the scale of my business has been reduced very considerably and I am making an application for compensation as a consequence.”
In a report, planning enforcement officer Leslie Smith explained the history of the site. He said in 2000 the business was invited to apply for a change-of-use planning application “to regularise” the use of the premises but this was refused on highway grounds as the entrance is near to traffic lights at the junction of the A550 and A5117.
During an enforcement inquiry it emerged that there was sufficient evidence to indicate the premises had been in continuous use for more than 10 years and therefore an application for a lawful development certificate was likely to succeed.
Mr Smith added: “In the past year or so extensive road improvements have taken place in the area which she says has led to a loss of business. Compensation is only payable by the Highways Agency to lawful businesses and she has been advised by her solicitor to submit the application now.”
Highways agency spokeswoman Barbara Phillips said: “We are not aware of such a claim being made to the Highways Agency. However, the Highways Agency does not provide compensation to businesses for alleged loss of trade except in the sole circumstance of access to a business being totally denied as a result of its work. No business has had access totally denied as a result of work on the A5117 Improvement Scheme.”
In November The Chronicle reported that diversion signs had been erected by the Highways Agency due to £58m highway improvement works on the A5117, alerting drivers they could still gain access to The Bungalow.