These Caen traders want compensation for the work in their street

The head of the Fleur du désert restaurant, Karim Merrouche, has relaunched the association of shopkeepers on rue Caponière in Caen (Calvados). © Christophe Jacquet – Freedom

Since Tuesday, June 7, 2022, Enedis has been renewing the aging underground electrical networks in rue Caponiere on Caen (Calvados). Of working carried out until the beginning of September, in small installments, for “a limited effect”, swears the distributor.

Street vendors disagree. About twenty of them have even reconstituted the association of Cap’Village merchants to organize. And “put some pressure on the town hall”, warns Karim Merrouche.

The leader for 11 years of Fleur du Désert, a couscous and tajine restaurant to take only, has relaunched the association. He does not miss a crumb of the construction site given his location, at the very beginning of the street, in the rounded corner with rue de Bayeux, which he shares with the tobacco shop next door, on the Place de l’Ancienne Boucherie.

“20 to 30% fewer customers”

“You walk around the grocery stores, honestly, it’s hard,” he explains in the shelter of the heat, after not serving any customers for lunch.

The activity barometer is the tobacco business. Since the start of the work, he has had 20 to 30% fewer customers. It’s huge.

Most people get in the car, they do not stop. The traffic on rue Caponière has also changed to one-way traffic, at least as far as rue de Bretagne.

“This work is the trigger,” says Karim Merrouche. After two years with Covid-19, activity has not returned, and “we are all tight with inflation. The clothing salesman next door does not know how to deal with sales.”

“We were presented with a fait accompli,” breathes Karim Merrouche. “It’s a copy of the work for gas four years ago. You can still see the ‘patches’ on the sidewalks. This time, the street vendors will not be left without reacting. In frequent dialogue, on the spot, with Enedis’ executives and the Sato company, they want to attract the attention of the town hall in Caen.Without the great success so far.

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“There is a total lack of coordination,” laments Karim Merrouche. According to him, the work was originally scheduled to begin on July 8. And lasts barely two months until the end of August. “We are already told that it has to drag out until September 10th. And what we’ve had on the sidewalks for two weeks are little things next to the trenches that need to be opened. »

The rent refunded?

Reunited again, the merchants in rue Caponière are now asking for “compensation” for loss of profits and loss of customers. “We have low rents here, around € 500 a month,” says the head of Fleur du désert. “They can give us the equivalent amount of time for work. It remains to be seen who will pay compensation.

According to Karim Merrouche, “everyone gives the money”. Enedis would have suggested that they “appeal”. And “The city of Caen derives itself: it is not she who asked to do her work”. The business association consulted with a lawyer. ‘For him, there is necessarily an envelope to be set aside. »

“Impossible” to compensate every time

Karim Merrouche also refers to the even more extensive work planned for 18 months in Vaugueux, and to the compensation negotiated in early July with Caen la mer. For Ludwig Willaume, Deputy Head of Public Administration space and the living environment. he There is a great difference between the two districts: the importance and duration of the work.

We do not set up a compensation commission for work over such a short period of time.

He adds: “We did it for shoppers while working on the tramway and Boulevard Leclerc. “The commission is triggered again for the restaurateurs in Vaugueux – it is the subject of a discussion in the next municipal council on Monday 27 June.

But in rue Caponière, the work, “which is necessary” according to Ludwig Willaume, must last a maximum of three months. “We should compensate in every place. Since roads are the responsibility of Caen la Mer, it should be done in relation to the urban community. It is impossible.”

The elected representative “planned to receive the merchants” from rue Caponière to “review the work”. In the presence of the concessionaires – Enedis and Sato – “who are doing everything to minimize the construction site. But we will not lie to them, it will have effects.

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