Roadworks traffic chaos make shops "no-go zone"By Laura Herbert
February 20, 2013
Chaos continues for drivers after another of the town centre’s main roads has been partially shut, prompting shoppers to stay away.
Less than a week after Broad Street closed for seven weeks of water main replacement works, part of Denmark Street has been blocked off to help the traffic flow.
But traders suggested the area has become a no-go zone since the section of Denmark Street which becomes two-way was closed to motorists, making it a one-way street, last Wednesday.
The closure, which is likely to remain in place until the Broad Street works are completed, means drivers wanting to access Wokingham Library, Denmark Street car park, The Duke’s Head pub and Langborough Road must follow a diversion.
Traders at the market reported a drop in sales following the Broad Street closure and fear further losses as shoppers are diverted around town to other car parks.
ShedKraft owner Kathy Osborne, market spokeswoman, said: “The town is not even half full with shoppers. Trade was average last week but there is no trade here at all. My trade is 70 per cent down.
“There was not a single customer at a single stall at 1pm on Friday, which is amazing. It would normally be heaving. I spoke to a couple from Finchampstead who queued from the Gowrings garage and it took them nearly one hour to get into town and find a parking space.”
Adrian Taylor, landlord of The Duke’s Head in Denmark Street, added: “The closure is affecting us, our lunches are down as people just aren’t popping in.
“I’ve heard of it taking people two hours to get around town.”
Broad Street is closed as part of South East Water’s £2 million project to replace 7.1km of water mains.
Matt Davey, Wokingham Borough Council’s head of technical services, said: “The changes to the traffic flow in Denmark Street, that has led to reduced delays for bus services running through the town, are likely to remain until works in Broad Street have been completed, however, the situation is being monitored daily.”
James Smith, South East Water delivery manager, added: “Following the changes to the flow of traffic in Denmark Street additional signs have been placed in Finchampstead Road directing road users who require access to Wokingham Library, Denmark Street car park, The Dukes Head pub and Langborough Road/Murdoch Road to follow the diversion. Signs have also been placed in Shute End, Rectory Road and Peach Street.
“I would like to apologise for the disruption our work may be causing and reassure the community our contractors are working as hard as they can to try and complete this section of work as quickly as possible.”