February 14, 2009
backs Highbridge traders over 'unacceptable' roadworks disruption
MP visited angry traders in the town on Saturday (February 14th)
to see for himself the disruption being caused to their trade
by major roadworks.
by Burnham-On-Sea.com, businesses along Church Street say their
trade has been badly hit by the three months of work to replace
gas mains along the busy route.
Heathcoat-Amory visited the town centre on Saturday afternoon,
where long queues of traffic had once again built up either side
of the temporary traffic lights.
met traders, as pictured here, and told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It
is unacceptable that the businesses were not informed of this
work in advance."
roadworks seem to be going ahead with no consideration for local
needs all the help it can get and I will be taking this up with
the county council's highways department as a matter of urgency."
will also see whether business rate relief can be requested for
the period of the work, and there's also a case for compensation
for the businesses. I fully sympathize with them."
was first to predict the disruption last
month, when it emerged that the roadwork would involve the
A38 being partially closed until the end of April.
already fears that the project is running behind schedule and
that the end date could have to be extended," said Russell
Chedzoy of Bay Tree Upholstery at Saturday's meeting.
added: "People are just not coming into Highbridge due to
all the disruption and queues. The town is becoming a no-go zone
and risks becoming a 'ghost town'."
is planning to proceed with a protest against the work by lying
across the road if the workmen come near his shop.
disgraceful that this work is going ahead without anyone coming
to talk to traders or discuss how we will be compensated,"
Anthony Brooks of Skidmarx added: "It's getting to the point
where several businesses are questioning whether it's worth opening
at the moment because it's so quiet."
are usually our busiest day of the week, but people are just not
coming in their previous numbers since the roadworks began."
County Council Highways spokeswoman Jan Hookings told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"These are essential works being carried out by the gas board."
cannot stop the work from happening. We have consulted with the
gas board to make sure they do the work at the best time of the
year to cause the least disruption, principally to avoid the holiday
period, carnival and lead-up to Christmas."