Shopkeepers in Enfield have spoken out about the impact of cycle lanes on their businesses a year after a major part of the scheme was completed.

Shopkeepers along the A105 Green Lanes say their revenues suffered during the cycle lanes’ construction – and some are still struggling to regain lost ground after people changed their shopping habits.

Enfield Council sees the Cycle Enfield scheme as part of a long-term drive to encourage the uptake of healthier forms of transport and cut congestion as London’s population continues to grow.

The council has retained as many parking spaces as possible and provided extra parking in town centres along the busy route.

But shopkeepers say people decided to spend their money elsewhere while the lanes were being built – and many have not come back.

Sonia Richmond, who owns beauty salon Chi, said: “Several of my clients have said, ‘I am going down the road now because I can get there easily’. I think a lot of people voted with their feet and are avoiding the area.

“In the past two years, my turnover has been going down and down.

“A couple of years ago, I was thinking, ‘I am getting somewhere’ – but now I am back to waiting to see what comes in before I decide who gets paid first.”

Shirley Wakeford, who runs furniture shop David Way with her husband Steven, said: “We are all still suffering down here. It had a terrible effect.

“People are creatures of habit. They just relocate and never come back. There is nowhere for them to park.

“They have given us 20 parking spaces in a car park – but no-one knows about it.”

Manesh Shah, who owns Cherrys Newsagents, said his takings fell by between 30 and 40 per cent while the cycle lanes were being built and had still not recovered.

He said: “People used to stop and buy a paper and a cigarette and go away.

“They put the parking on the other side of the road, but if you stop there to cross the road it takes them ten minutes to cross.”

Richard Turner, manager at Lords Builders’ Merchants, claimed the works cost him around £20,000 in lost sales – but his takings have almost got back to where they were before the lanes were put in.

He said: “Sales dropped over the year about ten to 12 per cent, and we are just getting back up there.

“What is hard to determine is customers who found other places to shop.”

Mr Turner described the scheme as “a fantastic idea but bunged into the wrong space”.

He added: “One of the biggest issues is loss of parking. Green Lanes has lost a lot. Hertford Road has lost 130 off-street parking spaces.”

Malcolm McGrath, who owns Keymakers, said: “It affected the shop badly – the retail sales through the shop as opposed to our contracts.

“The traders continued to use us, but the public are more fickle than that. That drop in turnover for one year badly affected us.

“The A105 became so congested. The traffic moved so slowly along it – it was not carrying the volume of traffic that it used to.”

Businesses were offered business rate relief to help them out during construction – but many shopkeepers were not happy with the level of support they were given.

Ms Richmond said: “We got a temporary 10 per cent reduction in business rates, just while the work was being completed. But that doesn’t even make up for one week of business.”

Mr Turner described the business rate support as “a drop in the ocean”, while Mr McGrath said it was a “pittance”.

Mr Shah added: “We asked for a rebate and they said ‘no, your rateable value is more than £15,000 so you will not get a rebate’.”

Steven Wakeford said the scheme “could have been the best thing that happened to Enfield” but blamed political point-scoring for ruining it.

He said: “It was hijacked as a party-political argument by the Tories against Labour. Because they fought it, nothing good came of it.”

Shopkeepers admitted Brexit and online shopping were having an impact on sales, but most saw the cycle lanes as having dealt a further blow to their businesses.

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “High streets across the country – both with and without cycle lanes – are having to adapt to a challenging environment as a result of the rise in internet shopping and wider economic conditions, with many well-reported high street store closures, almost by the week.

“Enfield Council is actively looking at how best to support, promote and stimulate the borough’s town centres and has already started that process with a discussion around Edmonton Green Town Centre.

“While the construction of the A105 cycle lanes led to some temporary disruption during their construction, from which we understand that some retailers received business rate relief, the finished scheme has improved the look and feel of the public realm in the town centres, making them more attractive places to visit.

“However, the fact remains that the vast majority of visitors to our local town centres either walk, cycle or use public transport. A minority travel by car with most vehicles simply passing through Neighbourhoods rather than stopping to shop.

“Nonetheless, at the request of traders, through the Cycle Enfield scheme, the council invested in improved car parking facilities with additional signage in both Winchmore Hill and Palmers Green, maintaining on-street parking wherever possible along the length of the A105 as well as providing a number of free 45-minute parking bays in both shopping districts.

“We will continue to discuss with retailers their concerns to see how the Council can best support them now and in the future to ensure our high streets and town centres meet the needs of residents in a changing economic environment and remain thriving places to visit.”