Pub boss threatens legal action after Metro work 'cost business £100k'
A bar owner is threatening legal action over city centre Metro works he says have cost his business more than £100,000.
Shaun Keasey said trade at the Prince Albert pub in Wolverhampton had been "utterly devastated" by work to extend tram lines along Pipers Row to the railway station, which has massively overrun.
The work has taken place alongside the i9 development and has led to blocked roads and ripped up pavements, while entrances to the pub have been coned off, making them inaccessible, it is claimed.
Mr Keasey says the drop in trade caused by the two projects has cost him nearly £106,000 in the past year.
He said: "The Prince Albert is not part of a big chain and we have no big companies behind us. We are a small, independent business which has seen our trade utterly devastated by the work on the Midland Metro and the i9."
Mr Keasey, who took over the Railway Street venue in 2017 and also owns the city's Gorgeous nightclub, said he is considering legal action in a bid to recover his losses.
He claims trade had fallen by more than 50 per cent since 2018.
"We worked very hard to rebuild pub's reputation when we first came here and it is a battle we were winning, but the Metro work has destroyed everything," he added.
"There have been times when we people can't even access the pub because it is surrounded by cones and roadworks. A lot of businesses have been hurt by this work, but due to its location the Prince Albert has been disproportionately affected.
"We can't afford to absorb the costs of this work and on two or three occasions we have considered chucking the towel in."
A Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) spokesperson, said: "TfWM has introduced a voluntary scheme to offer a financial support package to traders whose businesses front onto roads where new tram line extensions are being or will be built.
"Businesses along the Pipers Row extension route have been offered advice on how to access support schemes.
"When completed, the Wolverhampton city centre Metro extension and redevelopment of the railway station, will create a new transport hub which will draw new visitors and investment to this part of the city centre.
"In the meantime we apologise for any inconvenience.
"The Midland Metro Alliance, which is designing and delivering the scheme on behalf of TfWM, has continued to promote that Wolverhampton is open as usual, including the business in question, on social media and through bespoke video advertising."
Wolverhampton Council spokesman Oliver Bhurrut, said: "Full construction works on the new eye-catching modern office development i9 have only recently started and we will continue to work with surrounding businesses and residents to ensure any disruption caused in delivering this vital scheme for the city is kept to a minimum.
"The i9 will provide up to 52,000 sq ft of stunning Grade A office space, has potential for 5,600 sq ft of leisure space for restaurants, and is the next step in building a thriving commercial quarter at the heart of Wolverhampton Interchange - bringing further investment and jobs to the city.”
Metro work has caused huge disruption to traffic and businesses in the city in recent years. The Pipers Row scheme – which extends the Metro from the St George's stop to the railway station – should have opened last summer but has met a series of delays.
And a scheme to replace tracks along Bilston Road in 2017 saw some firms go out of business and other lose up to 70 per cent of their trade.
The council and the West Midlands Combined Authority have since launched a compensation package for businesses who were impacted.