x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Shops forced to move out of city

The deadline has passed for industrial shops to move out of the city centre into new spaces south of Al Falah Street or in Mussafah.

ABU DHABI // All industrial shops in the city have been moved to new locations, with 62 shut down at the end of April for failing to comply with municipality regulations.

The 240 shops, which included second-hand furniture, car parts and building-materials businesses, were asked to move outside the city centre or off the island to create a better living environment for residents. The area bounded by Al Falah Street and Corniche Road was deemed off limits.

About 300 furniture shops in Abu Dhabi have been given notice to move. They are gradually moving towards Mussaffah or changing their business activities in an effort to remain. The deadline for these shops to relocate is June 30.

After that date they will be shut down, said Khalifa Al Romaithi, the director of the health and sanitation section of Abu Dhabi Municipality. "Only new-furniture shops are allowed to stay here in the city while old ones have to move to Mussaffah."

New specifications require shops which opt to stay on the island be located south of Al Falah Street, and have at least 80 square metres of shop space.

In addition, there must be parking space for two cars and a waiting area for customers.

"First we gave them a period of one year to move," Mr Al Romaithi said. "After that we fined them and closed their activities. These shopkeepers thought that, as before, the municipality would warn them and calm down."

He said this was the reason many shops waited to see if the municipality would enforce the new rule.

There are 80 technical and mechanical shops that have made the adjustments and now operate in the new areas.

"From January 2011 until June 5, 2012, about 100 shops have changed their activities and obtained another trading licence which is allowed to run in the city," Mr Al Romaithi said.

Shop owners were give a one-year grace period upon renewal of their licence.

anwar@thenational.ae