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News - 2 December 2010

Snow causes havoc for businesses

The snow looks set to stay for a few more days with another fall due this afternoon and another overnight. It is creating havoc with the retail sector which has only 22 days to sell Christmas stock.

Temperatures are not likely rise much above freezing before the weekend and then it is predicted we will have above zero temperatures during the day and below zero at night. This is not a good combination as it allows ice to form.

Treacherous conditions and limited transport options are deterring shoppers from visiting the the city's shopping centres and causing despair amongst retailers who have shelves groaning with unsold Christmas stock. Even those shop keepers who had anticipated a poor Christmas never thought that it would be this bad.

Under capitalised and with limited borrowing capacity, the independent sector is particularly hard hit and many will struggle to make ends meet in the New Year. In conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce the Business Forum is giving a presentation on 1 February 2011 on how to survive a rent review which will also include details of how to negotiate personal concessions wiht landlords for temporary reductions in rent. Businesses in distress should make a note of the date in their diaries and watch for further details of venue and time.

Meanwhile City Council resources have been diverted to concentrate on gritting and pavement clearance, and to provide as much 4 wheeled drive support to Care Services as possible.

The council is keen to avoid the number of trips and falls that occurred last year and to reduce pressure on the Accident & Emergency department at the hospital.

Businesses can help the situation by promoting a 'wearing suitable shoes' policy, amongst staff. A factor in trips and falls last year was unsuitable footwear for walking on slippery surfaces, and there was a high incident rate of injury where people were either stepping up or stepping down on slippery surfaces such as kerbs and steps.

If you see an ice or snow problem and cannot resolve it yourself then contact the Hollingdean Depot by ringing 01273 292929.


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