More help needed for businesses in Haywards Heath

Armstrong Opticians say they are being 'choked' by roadworks in Haywards Heath
Armstrong Opticians say they are being 'choked' by roadworks in Haywards Heath
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A Haywards Heath shop that is being ‘choked by the roadworks’ on South Road is complaining that not enough is being done to help local businesses.

South East Water’s essential work on South Road has led to a drop in footfall for shops, and one owner suggests the area should be free to park in whilst the work is carried out.

Liam Stevens, practice manager at Armstrong Opticians on South Road, said: “We need an incentive for shoppers, they’re going to Burgess Hill or Horsham instead.

“We need the council to make the parking free for the duration of the roadworks, we don’t feel the council is doing anything apart from the occasional advert on the radio.”

South Road will be closed for a total of 18 weeks this summer, and is scheduled to reopen on September 30.

Councillor Gary Marsh, cabinet member for economic development, said: “On the subject of parking, our figures show that car park use has actually increased in Haywards Heath since the essential roadworks on South Road started so free parking does not seem to be the right solution at this time.

“We are committed to securing a vibrant, healthy and prosperous local economy for the people of Mid Sussex.

“We’re currently working with West Sussex County Council on a £1.87 million project to create 35 new business starter units in Haywards Heath that will help get new and developing small businesses to get off the ground.”

Armstrong Opticians are ‘giving some crazy offers’ to customers to try to make up for the drop in footfall.

“We’re choked by the roadworks, we’re putting on good offers but there just aren’t the people here,” Liam explained.

“It has a massive impact, especially for charity shops on low margins and independent traders.

“It’s going on for four months, it really could potentially destroy business. I want to get a campaign going, we need to get shoppers to Haywards Heath.”

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