BUSINESSES hit by the closure of Moses Gate bridge say they will be forced to fold unless they get help soon.

Traders in Egerton Street and surrounding roads have seen footfall and takings take a nosedive since the bridge was closed after a water main burst in mid-August.

They say they are still missing out on passing trade due to Egerton Street being closed at its junction with Bolton Road and customers are also staying away from the area to avoid heavy traffic congestion.

The bridge was expected to reopen by the end of September. But this week Network Rail admitted it would not fully reopen until February.

Katrina Chu, who runs Poochy Paws Groom Room, in Cawdor Street, says she now has only has three dogs in daycare per day when it used to be 15.

She has been forced to let two staff go and has gone back to driving HGVs in the evenings to keep the business running. She said: “I’ve emptied my own bank account to pay my staff, I’ve had no wages since it started.”

Ms Chu is now demanding compensation for her loss of earning from whoever is responsible. She added: “We want compensation, we need it or we are not going to last. I’ve spent £40,000 on this business. Who is going to compensate me for all the money I’ve lost when we go under?”

Joe Tyczynski, who has run Moses Gate Butty Shop, in Egerton Street, said his business had seen a 30 per cent drop in takings. He added: “We are asking for compensation for the amount we are down. We are not asking for millions of pounds If they don’t do something soon a lot of businesses here won’t be able to hang on.”

Ramesh Patel, who runs Sunny News and Booze, in Egerton Street, said takings were down to 10 per cent of what they were. “We can’t survive on that,” he said.

And Suleman Khalid, who owns Express Hand Car Wash, in Egerton Street, said his takings were down by 80 per cent. He said: “I want all my losses paid back.”