Road plan leaves owners in limbo

PLANS to widen the Hume Highway between Mill Road and Atkinson Street in Liverpool will force the closure of some longstanding local businesses.

Seven lots within the Mill Road and Atkinson Street intersections are already owned by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

The remaining blocks will be compulsorily acquired before the start of the upgrade works, the date of which is yet to be announced.

One of the businesses in limbo is Visual Arts Picture Framing. Its owner, Peter Phillips, says he has been battling with RMS for more than eight years to determine the fate of his business should the upgrade works go ahead.

Mr Phillips said his shop occupied a prime location just across the road from the Collingwood Hotel and moving out of there would greatly disadvantage his business and inconvenience his customers.

"Not only that, with the little money they have offered me for my land, I could never move and relaunch my business," he said.

Mr Phillips said before RMS owned the surrounding land, businesses along that strip had commercial zoning.

"This was ideal as it meant the shops along here could expand and build up to seven storeys high if they wanted to," he said.

"We have since lost that zoning and now I am stuck in limbo, unable to expand, unable to sell and unable to relocate."

He said his fight for a fair go had been ignored and worsened by the fact that RMS had not advised the public when it planned to start upgrade works.

A spokeswoman for RMS said: "The proposed road boundaries were approved in 2006 and the long-term plan is included in Liverpool Council's 2008 Local Environment Plan."

"The proposal to improve the intersection of the Hume Highway and Hoxton Park Road would impact 12 lots on the eastern side of the Hume Highway between Mill Road and Atkinson Street, of which RMS owns seven lots.

"RMS has no current program for the acquisition of the remaining affected properties, nor has the timing been set for the commencement of planning for the future intersection upgrade," she said.

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