BROKEN promises and poor planning have turned Station Road works into an ‘unmitigated disaster’ for the city, according to a leading businessman.
Paul Feather from the Feather hotels group, which owns the Queen and Westminster Hotels on City Road, says the hotels’ image has been marred by roadworks on Station Road.
He now expects the closure of Hoole Bridge for 12 weeks of works in February will be even more catastrophic for business.
Mr Feather said: “It’s totally unacceptable. They said it will all be better when it’s finished, but that doesn’t help commercial businesses at all. They’ve promised one thing after another and have never delivered.
“Three of the main roads outside the station were closed – anything they ever say to us is made of straw.
“Chester is trying to develop itself and it has been hampered. We’re not opposed to the development of the station, but it is a complete and utter waste of money that they’ve only done the roadworks and haven’t enhanced the area architecturally. There’s nothing there that’s a wow factor.”
Mr Feather said £20 million had been put into the Queen Hotel but felt the ongoing roadworks were giving out the wrong impression to visitors.
National conferences form an important part of the Queen Hotel’s business, and he explained potential clients for 2008 come for viewings now. Although he was unwilling to give an estimate of the trade lost, he said he had noticed a “substantial downturn” in trade at the bar.
He said: “This is our showcase time of the year. When they see the catastrophic situation at the front they go to York or Cheltenham.
“Here you have it again with the bridge. I would put money down that it will never be finished on time.
“We will survive – this is a blip and we have faith. What we do not have faith in is the arrogance of the county council.”
A council spokesman said: “We have every confidence in completing the works on time. We have set aside 8-12 weeks for the Hoole Road Bridge works but are hoping for 10 because of contingency for bad weather.”