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Plymouth Gadget Repair owner blames scaffolding for ‘killing’ his shop

Richard Brown ran Plymouth Gadget Repair for eight years but it couldn’t survive works to re-clad the building

Richard Brown outside his Plymouth Gadget Repair store, in Frankfort Gate, before it was covered in scaffolding

A Plymouth businessman says he has been forced to shut his Frankfort Gate shop because the £360,000 refurbishment of buildings meant it was covered in scaffolding for four months.

Richard Brown closed down Plymouth Gadget Repair in late 2019, after trading for eight years, saying that surrounding his store with scaffolding had caused customers to stay away.

He has now rebuilt his business as a mobile enterprise, investing £20,000 in a van so he can travel to customers’ homes and repair their laptops and other tech.

But Mr Brown had to make his son redundant and is still furious that his business was “killed” by Plymouth Community Homes’ scaffolding,

saying he was left with no choice but to pack up and was only offered a lump sum of £500 in compensation when he needed £2,500 a week to make up for lost trade.

The former Plymouth Gadget Repair store in Frankfort Gate as it looked in January 2020 (Image: Peter Chapman)

And he is further incensed that the scaffolding, which went up in early October 2019 so new cladding could be installed, is still on the building.

“I’m gutted. I’ve had to leave the shop and go mobile,” he said. “It would have killed me with that scaffolding.”

Mr Brown said the scaffold, needed for the major structural works on the building, was put in place in August 2019 and caused an immediate drop in custom.

“Every customer either walked away or, if they did come in, asked if we were still open,” he said.

How Frankfort Gate will look when the cladding has been replaced (Image: PCH)

He complained to landlord PCH and the scaffold was taken down, but only temporarily.

“I was told there would be three months of scaffolding around the building, so no shopfront and signage,” he said, and explained that left only the option of shutting the shop and working out of a van.

“They (PCH) have caused me massive financial issues,” he said. “I asked to leave but it was forced upon me.”

Ian Frazer, head of repairs and regeneration, said: “We’re investing £360,000 into Frankfort Gate to carry out important structural works to the blocks

and to give them a fresh new-look for the benefit of the residents and businesses who call them home.

“We’ve been speaking to businesses and residents throughout the project and let shop owners know in advance that they’d need to shut for one week whilst we fitted their new PVCu windows.

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