A BELEAGUERED business owner says he has been forced to choose between wading through red tape or breaking the law because of crippling roadworks outside his shop.
Surrey Beds owner Jerry Cheshire says town planners risk running his long-standing business out of town by laying down obstacle after obstacle.
Mr Cheshire learnt this week the ongoing Transport for London (TfL) roadworks at the junction of Old Lodge Lane and Brighton Road, Purley, include creating a raised kerb outside his store.
This would replace the dropped kerb he has relied on for years for his lorries to use the loading bay to pick up and drop off his beds.
Mr Cheshire said: "It would make it almost impractical to run the business.
"The products that come here are incredibly heavy – you cannot pick them up and walk around the corner with them; you need to be as close as possible to the loading bay."
Mr Cheshire said he now has two choices: apply to have the kerb removed after it is built, or knowingly break the law by asking lorry drivers to ride over it.
He said: "I have to apply to the council for a dropped kerb, then they would have to dig it up and charge me. So on top of all of the loss of income during the roadworks, I now face this.
"A project manager did suggest to me I should just drive over the kerb – so TfL's resolution to the issue is to ask me to break the law."
TfL says it has no qualms removing the dropped kerb because it was, technically, restricted to pedestrian use. It had never enforced that restriction, however, leaving Mr Cheshire scratching his head.
He said: "How should I know that the lowered kerb I have got is the wrong type of lowered kerb? I am not an expert."
Dana Skelley, director of roads at TfL said: "As part of the improvement works to the junction of the A23 Brighton Road and Old Lodge Lane, we have been upgrading pedestrian crossings and improving pavements.
"Previously, in order to access the yard outside Surrey Beds, delivery vehicles drove across the pavement via the dropped kerb for the pedestrian crossing, making it hazardous for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.
"Following the completion of these works, motor vehicles will need to use the nearby alternative. We have advised business owners that if they seek additional safe and legal access routes across the footway, they will need to apply to the local council."