Traders in Poix-de-Picardie fear they will not be able to survive the works

The merchants of Poix-de-Picardie were concerned about the project to revitalize the town center. (©The Awakening of Neufchatel)

On the morning of Monday, January 23, merchants Poix-de-Picardie was invited to the town hall to participate in the presentation of the initial project downtown revitalization. We went to meet them.

The idea of ​​beautifying the city center does not bother city merchants, on the contrary. But what scares them is the announced two-and-a-half-year job.

After the health crisis and price inflation caused by the war in Ukraine, such a long construction site could kill most businesses in the city.

Life and especially the place of transition

Up to 160 cars can park on the Republic square. Whether it’s the residents of Poix-de-Picardie, the workers who work there, or the passing drivers, pretty much everyone who passes through the city parks in the city center.

If people could drive their cars directly to the shops, they would. They want to park their cars as close as possible to the shops, they are not going to park a hundred meters away from the bakery and walk there.

Jonathan Ducrocq Sports cafe manager

In addition, the Place de la République and the shops that surround it is the proximity of the parking spaces to the shops. The impossibility of parking there would repel many customers.

Everything useful for the development of the city center for traders will be removed.

Two years of work is too much

After the Covid pandemic, most traders saw their cash flow drastically reduced. Laying off some of their employees due to work will be a liability for them to live.

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I lose about 40% turnover when the fair is installed in the summer. It’s not really a problem because it only lasts for two weeks. But two years is a long time. I have no chance of surviving it.

Pascal LegrisManager of Tobacco Place de la République.

“€5 million is a lot just to beautify the city center. We live in such a time that you need to be careful with money,” explains florist Sylvie Mouton. “Furthermore, this is not a site that will attract tourists or create jobs. On the contrary, he prefers to take the risk of losing some of them.”

Everyone is involved in this project

If at first only the managers of the stores located in Place République were invited, they quickly spread the word to their colleagues in the rest of Poix-de-Picardie.

They were joined by street vendors, pharmacists and doctors. “We are so easily forgotten,” says one of them.

Indeed, it is not only shopkeepers adjacent to the work who are at risk of being affected by the construction site. Other shops in Poix-de-Picardie also benefit from the presence of the Place de la République car park.

Some customers also complain about the downtown redevelopment project.

This can be a good thing for those living in a commune. But I have to take the car to get here. Apart from the square, there is almost no parking near the shops.

Customer from Poix-de-Picardie

Criticized management

The reappearance of the Poix River is also a problem. In addition to unsanitary conditions, residents fear the risk of flooding. “If we are not careful, the banks will get dirty quickly.”

Moreover, along with the reopening of the river, the direction of the river will also be changed. Although the city council has assured traders that this part of the work will take only five months, they remain skeptical.

Pipes, water networks, lights pass below. There will be no shortage of archaeological remains. In this case, the area will be extended during excavation.

Nothing concrete yet

Solutions to help businesses also leave managers confused.

During the presentation of the project, they just told us what kind of subsidy the municipal council is thinking about. Vouchers have been talked about, but nothing concrete yet. It’s like they didn’t think anything about us.

Julien MagnierButcher in Republic Square

So far, the municipality has not received all the expected subsidies to start the work, and the revitalization of the city center is still in the preliminary design phase.

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