Roadworks hit New Regent St businesses

FINISHING UP: Michelle Crouch is closing down her shop, MC Beauty & Nails, located in New Regent Street.
FINISHING UP: Michelle Crouch is closing down her shop, MC Beauty & Nails, located in New Regent Street.

Two businesses have quit historic New Regent St less than nine months since it reopened, blaming a lack of foot traffic and road closures.

At the end of October, Prestige Fudge announced it was closing. The owner of MC Beauty and Nails, Michelle Crouch, has now also pulled the plug.

With major roadworks planned for Manchester St early next year, Crouch said it was not going to get "any easier any time soon".

Crouch runs her salon and manages boutique fashion and accessory store The W Room from her unit.

Crouch has sublet the space to an architecture firm and her last day of trading would be Christmas Eve. She would take only nail clients at her new premises in Rotherham St, Riccarton.

"I'm just losing too much money," Crouch said.

New Regent Street reopened in March and within six weeks, parts of Gloucester, Manchester and Barbadoes streets had closed and it became "way too hard to get in here", Crouch said.

She noticed a decline in trade as soon as the Gloucester St bridge closed.

Customers complained about the lack of access and car parking, she said, and then a staff member quit and took clients with her.

She lost her Fendalton salon in the February 2011 earthquake. The building she moved to in Barbadoes St was written off in the June 2011 aftershock.

"I was so excited to be in New Regent St and things started so well . . . but it didn't last long at all."

Shopkeepers last week expressed their frustration about the state of five units on the street.

The units - owned by the same Christchurch family - have yet to be restored and a safety fence has been blocking the street since June.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has reached an agreement with the owners to complete strengthening work and remove the fence.

Prestige Fudge announced its closure on its Facebook page saying it was forced to shut because of low foot traffic.

"This was no easy decision, we are heartbroken, especially after the two and a half year wait to get into the shop," it said.

New Regent Business Association chairman Dan Joines said Prestige Fudge was struggling before it opened but felt the owners should have stuck it out for another month or so.

"The trams are back up and running and that's bringing loads of people in . . . and tourists are loving the street," he said.

A Scirt spokeswoman said projects starting near New Regent in the coming months included work on Manchester St from February to July and on Armagh St from April to September. Scirt would use signs marked "shops this way".

The Press