THE owner of a parade of shops on Basildon’s Craylands estate fears his businesses could fold before he gets the chance to benefit from the regeneration now under way.

Sinniah Kam runs Kamco Craylands, formerly Craylands Food & Wine, and Uncle Kam’s chip shop and takeaway, both in Norwich Walk.

He says the redevelopment is crippling both businesses because so many of his customers have now moved out as their homes are replaced.

Mr Kam has traded on Craylands for a decade, but says the past six months’ takings are almost 75 per cent less than the same time last year.

He added: “It is difficult to put into words how difficult it will be to continue. Running a business in this way is not easy and it is a real struggle to carry on. We are being updated by the council on developments but we still don’t have a date when we will be able to move.”

Swan Housing, which is presiding over the £220million regeneration project with the Homes and Communities Agency and Basildon Council,is trying to find Mr Kam a temporary base on the estate nearer to where people still live.

In the meantime, Mr Kam said he was focusing on keeping his businesses afloat until he could start to rebuild trade.

He explained: “When 300 people move out of an area that is on your doorstep, it is an awful lot of customers and an awful lot of money to lose.

“We have faithful customers who still come, but not nearly enough.We think we could still be here for up to a year and it promises to be hard.”

A worker at the chip shop, who asked not to be named, added: “We’ve been here more than ten years.We were always busy in the past, but now we are struggling.

“We want people to know we are still here and open as normal as we are tucked away.”

The current phase of the works involves the demolition of 161 homes and their replacement with 206 new homes, plus new shops to replaceMrKam’s properties and a community hall.