A FAMILY-owned garden centre is on the brink of closure because customers are staying away due to six month-long roadworks.
Husband and wife Keith and Linda Goodall, who own Roots ’n’ Shoots by Sainsbury’s roundabout in Boughton, have laid off their three staff and must pay a £12,000 VAT bill by Monday.
The Goodalls, whose son Ashley also works at the nursery, say the business has been devastated by ongoing work to increase the capacity of the roundabout so it can cope with a housing development at nearby Saighton Camp.
Mr Goodall senior, who lives in Bunbury, said: “We could lose our house. We have got a mortgage and financial commitments, a vehicle on hire purchase. I stand to lose everything. I stand to lose my lifetime’s work. Everything I have got is here.”
Work on the roundabout started at the end of May and is not due to finish until late November. Commercial Estates Group (CEG) must carry out the highway changes as a condition of planning consent granted for its scheme to deliver 375 homes, 5,500 sq m of employment space and new community facilities at Saighton Camp.
But Mr Goodall says CEG now claims it is under no obligation to pay any compensation despite him providing them with his accounts at their request.
He says the weekly rent alone comes to £1,280, but on a recent week he only took £1,600 meaning no money to cover staff wages.
“One member of staff who has been here longer than anybody else – he had worked here seven years – left last week because he couldn’t afford to live on the hours I was giving him,” added Mr Goodall.
A Commercial Estates Group spokesman said: “We are working closely with the local authority to ensure the highway improvement works under way at Boughton Heath Roundabout cause as little disruption as possible for local residents and businesses.
“We are undertaking these highway improvements in accordance with the planning permission we have been granted.
“We have been made aware of concerns from Roots ’n’ Shoots and we have done what we can to address and alleviate any impact.
“This has included providing extra signage and new road markings to ensure people are aware the garden centre is open for business as well as trying to assist in securing business rate rebates.
“Once completed, the highway improvement works will benefit all local road users and pedestrians by increasing capacity at Boughton Heath Roundabout, addressing peak time congestion and reducing the likelihood of accidents.”