Traders fears as waterworks beginBy Laura Herbert
February 13, 2013
Traders fear sales will slump and queuing traffic will deter shoppers as seven weeks of roadworks start in the town centre.
Broad Street is shut while South East Water lays new water mains as part of its £2 million project across the town.
The road closed last Thursday and traffic is being diverted along Denmark Street, Wellington Road and Station Road.
Market spokeswoman Kathy Osborne, who runs ShedKraft, said: “The road closure affected the traders over the weekend.
“A lot of people who came to the market on Friday and Saturday said they didn’t realise the road was going to be shut so the traders are worried about how it is going to affect them over the next two or three weeks when people realise the road is closed.”
Mrs Osborne also raised concerns about vehicles illegally parking in Denmark Street.
She said: “There is a temporary bus stop outside the Red Lion pub but if the bus stops and someone is parked opposite, the traffic comes to a standstill.
“We understand the work has got to be done but it’s a shame it wasn’t carried out earlier in the year or during the school holidays.”
Rahul Sood, owner of Flower Corner, is concerned about sales especially with Valentine’s Day tomorrow.
He said: “This should be one of our good weeks, but it’s not great so far.
“We get a lot of walk-in customers and they need to park, but people get scared and if you tell someone the road is closed they won’t come here.
“On Valentine’s Day my shop will normally do four or five times more in sales and most of the customers will walk in, so I’m very concerned.”
The diversion takes drivers past car parks in Rose Street, Easthampstead Road and Denmark Street, which are all open but traders fear people don’t realise they are there.
In Cara, area manager Angie Sommerville said: “Like for like this year compared to last is 50 per cent down. We are in sale but we are not getting people through the door.
“We benefit from people driving by, parking up and coming in, but we haven’t had any of that and we usually have a lot of customers come from Waitrose but we haven’t seen them.”
But Mark Grey, Zizzi manager, said the road works haven’t affected his trade so far. He said: “We have noticed people are coming in later. It is difficult to tell and just because you are quiet it may not be the roadworks.”
James Smith, South East Water delivery manager, said: “We listen to any suggestions for ways we can help ensure access to the town is still easy for residents and visitors, and we are arranging for more signs to be put up directing people to Rose Street car park.
“The team is working hard to complete this section of work as quickly and as safely as possible.
“While these roadworks won’t last, the benefits of the new pipe will and I’d like to thank everyone for their support during this work.”
He added: “We ensured we weren’t working in this section in the run-up to Christmas, and have timed the work to coincide with half-term to reduce impacts during one of the weeks.”
For more information, visit www.southeastwater.co.uk/wokingham