VIDEO: Rugby star's car towed in one-man boulevard protest
A ONE-MAN roadwork protest by Colin Charvis came to a head yesterday when his 4x4 was towed away from outside his business.
The former Wales rugby captain and British Lion said work on the boulevard project in Swansea had resulted in a dramatic drop-off in trade because his shop had been left isolated.
Yesterday his vehicle was taken away by council contractors after he refused to move it from outside his premises on Oystermouth Road.
Swansea Council said it had been in talks with Mr Charvis about the road works and his business can still be accessed from York Street.
The European-style boulevard aims to link-up the city centre with Swansea’s sea front.
Mr Charvis who runs a carpet, laminate and floor covering business, said he had asked Swansea Council to create a temporary entrance for customers and deliveries but he had been left frustrated.
Yesterday he left his 4x4 inside the cordoned off stretch of road in front of his business, where he has called for a temporary entrance to be created.
But the vehicle was taken away by contractors, who were unable to complete a trench they have been digging because of the blockage.
Mr Charvis said: “I really don’t want to be a nimby [not in my back yard], but I am totally isolated here.
“The council says it is offering solutions to businesses, but they have not worked for me.
“I’ve had to move my stock inside because it was getting covered in dust, and now its taking up room inside where we cut our stock. Customers can’t park here, and they have been getting parking tickets leaving their vehicles nearby.
“And deliveries can’t drive into the front.
“The LC had a mini entrance for a while, when work was going on at their side of the road, so why couldn’t something similar be done for me?
“I’ve left my car out the front so there is an access point.
“I’m losing business, but there is no change to the business rates I am being charged.
“This is my livelihood, and the people who work for me.
“I’ve laid my body on the line for this city and I have invested in it, but the business is going to be ruined.”
A Swansea Council spokesperson said: “We’ve met Mr Charvis on several occasions to discuss his concerns. It’s not possible for vehicles to park on the construction site outside his business on Victoria Road at the moment because that would be unsafe.
“Access to the LC and Mr Charvis’s business are very different — the LC only has one access point for services and deliveries, whereas Mr Charvis’s business can still be accessed from York Street. This is why we’ve agreed a number of temporary measures with Mr Charvis that include access for deliveries and pick-ups from York Street, cones to help mark out a designated parking area for his business and help for moving large rolls of carpet.
“In the meantime, we’re keen to support Mr Charvis’ business and are happy to discuss any reasonable measures he feels may help while the works are ongoing.”
A spokesman for contractors Costain added: “We asked Mr Charvis on a number of occasions to remove his car from the construction site so that works could safely continue.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t remove his car so there was no choice other than to remove it.”