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Water pouring into shops beneath Pier Hill despite £400k remedy
LONG-SUFFERING traders beneath Pier Hill claim water is still pouring into their premises despite the £400,000 Southend Council has spent trying to remedy the problem.
Businesses, including an angling shop and cafes, have suffered problems ever since a £6million revamp of Pier Hill in 2005.
A waterproof membrane should have been installed under the paving which runs above the pier arches, but contractors failed to put it in, leading to dozens of complaints from business owners who had water coming through their roofs.
In 2010, the council carried out work to line the inside of the arches and, in 2011, it carried out work to install the missing membrane on Pier Hill, but traders say the problem is still blighting their businesses Southend Council officials says it has not discovered any water leaks since the repair works, or had any reports of problems nevertheless, the traders claim water is still seeping through the walls.
Rory Coase, the owner of Southend Angling Centre, says the problem has forced him into to be choosy when it comes to buying stock.
Mr Coase said: “I have had to think carefully about what I sell because it causes boxes to become soggy and the damage it leaves can make items look like they’re second hand.
“Customers don’t want to shop in a place like that, with wet boxes and water dripping through the roof.
“It has affected a lot us down here. Sometimes, there is so much water coming through, you can push it out with a brush.”
A cafe owner, who did not want to be named, said the long-standing problems were badly affecting his trade.
He said: “In the past I have had to let people eat for free, because water has started dripping on their plate halfway through a meal.
“The water comes through everywhere in the cafe and it can be really embarrassing and does not give a good image for the business.
“This has been going on for so long, it is getting beyond a joke.”
Alan Richards, Southend Council’s group manager for asset management, said: “We have been monitoring the effectiveness of both the internal and external membranes since they were installed.
“We will visit the tenants at the earliest opportunity to find out if they have been experiencing any problems and, if they have, why they didn’t notify us straight away.”
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