Financial help for Old Town traders is approved

Old Town roadworks.
Old Town roadworks.

A financial aid package for Old Town traders has been given the green light by council chiefs.

The scheme includes giving grants of up to £5,000 to business owners, introducing free parking vouchers for shoppers and suspending the payment of business rates for the rest of the financial year.

Although not obliged to, Dacorum Borough Council came up with the package after meeting with traders who revealed late-running High Street roadworks were putting their livelihoods at risk.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, leader Councillor Andrew Williams said: “As a result of circumstances beyond our control this scheme has caused significant financial difficulties to traders on the High Street.”

A delay in the arrival of materials from China and the discovery of underground tombs mean the one-way project is running behind and workers have now agreed to complete work already started by the end of November and return to finish the job in the new year.

Under the financial help scheme an Old Town High Street Business Forum will be formed, which traders must join to be eligible for the council’s help.