A SALISBURY business owner has said he has a maximum of four weeks before he will have to consider closing and laying off staff because of a drop in trade following the nerve agent attack in March.

David Gladden, who owns Timber Treasures on High Street, told the Journal the business is now £13,000 overdrawn after experiencing a 46 per cent loss in profit during March and April.

And he said he is yet to see any money from the hardship relief claim fund set up by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) and Wiltshire Council using part of the £1million received from central government to boost Salisbury’s recovery.

“I expect they [the council] are very busy, but my problem is that I can’t let the situation push the business down the drain,” David said.

“To spell this out I have about four weeks at the most before I will have to reduce the opening hours (possibly even opening days) of the shop.”

David made an application for funds and business rate relief on April 24, after his total takings from the Salisbury store dropped almost £4,000 in March and April compared to the same months last year.

He said: “It’s so bureaucratic in a situation where those of us involved can’t wait for bureaucracy, it’s an immediate problem in order to keep people’s jobs alive.”

He is now worried about what will happen to the five staff he employs in the Salisbury branch, adding: “Ultimately it will mean sacking them I’m afraid. They know this and it’s very difficult.”

David said the rest of the business, including a store in Bath and an online store was at risk because of problems in Salisbury.

“I have only asked for £3,000, I’ve tried to be totally reasonable.

“Our problem is a lot of our footfall starts its walk towards us from the Maltings.

“The council said immediate action would be taken to help us, and it’s not. They have had my application forms and haven’t done anything in over two weeks.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: “We made contact with Timber Treasures through a business survey we sent out with the Salisbury BID, and we have been in touch with the company ever since their initial enquiry.

"We have provided a range of support to the company, including financial help, and we did that within a few days of the initial contact.

“We are providing support to all affected Salisbury businesses in partnership with the Salisbury BID, Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Federation of Small Business.

"We are addressing their business support needs, including funding and specialist advice. We have had face to face contact with hundreds of businesses to understand how they have been affected.

“This conversation is ongoing and we are doing all we can to support Salisbury’s business to recover.”