A MORPETH hairdresser has cited a trio of reasons for having to cut her salon in half.
Katie Patton, who owns Diva in Newgate Street, feared she was going to have to close her business after five years because of spiralling costs.
And she claims it was extremely difficult to keep them under control by having to deal with £8,000-a-year business rates, parking charges and the impact of roadworks in the town.
But after taking the decision to reduce the floor size by half and carry out a complete refurbishment, the 33-year-old is confident of bouncing back and making the new salon work in the long-term.
A one-way system was put in place in the town centre from mid-January to the end of March to accommodate essential water piping and gas mains maintenance works.
It caused delays for shoppers coming into Morpeth and some smaller, independent shops reported a 50 per cent slump in custom.
Mrs Patton, who has been a hairdresser in Morpeth for 17 years, said: “We’ve always been a busy, popular salon but we’ve had to cope with an extremely difficult economic climate.
“We experienced the worst start to a year I have ever known.
“January and February are never busy months anyway but then the roadworks started and it hit the town really badly.
“Newgate Street has also been hit really hard because of the opening of Sanderson Arcade in recent years as there isn’t as much footfall in this part of the town, so we aren’t getting as many walk-in clients off the street.
“I also had business rates of £8,000-a-year and, on top of that, parking charges are putting people off coming into Morpeth.
“It costs £2 for two hours at our nearest car park so we are constantly having to run out of the shop to renew tickets for customers.
“Despite the high rates, I don’t even get a parking space behind the premises or a wheelie bin.”
She was determined not to close her business and the decision to reduce the size of the shop has safeguarded its future for herself and stylist Emma Froud. The other half of the premises is now available to rent.
After being closed while work was carried out, Diva re-opened three weeks ago and its transformation has received a number of positive comments from existing and new customers.
Mrs Patton said: “The worst case scenario would have been closing the salon and going back mobile but that was a last resort because I’m no quitter. I wanted to make sure the salon could stay here.
“We’ve been hit hard but we’re still really busy and now I’ve reduced overheads it means we can be much more optimistic.
“We would like to say a big thank you to our clients for supporting us through it all.”