False road closures hit trade

Karren Brady of Ansty PYO and Farm Shop. DC5421P7

Liz and Howard Legg at Greenacre Farm Shop. DC5421P7

First published in News by

BUSINESSES along the A30 between Fovant and Ludwell are up in arms after road closure signs were put in place over two weekends – but no work took place.

Karren Price, director of Ansty Pick Your Own and Farm Shop, has had what should have been the busiest period of the year disrupted as she informed her customers of the closure and accordingly reduced staff numbers.

Having been assured that customers would still have access to her farm, Ms Price offered a fruit pick of 4kg for the price of 3kg, which she felt she had to honour, despite the road still being open.

The proposed roadworks were first set to take place on July 18, which coincided with the Larmer Tree Festival and Gurston Hill Climb, causing chaos on both the A30 and the road through the Chalke Valley.

The contractors Balfour Beatty then put up signs saying the roads would be closed the next weekend, July 25-27, the first week of the school summer holidays when, once again, traffic was heavy.

Work did not take place that weekend either.

Ms Price said: “I understand the road needs to be resurfaced, but would the evenings not be more appropriate?

“The section of road that really needs repairing is between Ludwell and Shaftesbury – this section is not planned to be repaired at all.

“Our bread sales have been down about 30 per cent, mainly due to local people making different arrangements because of the supposed road closures.”

Joanna James of Ludwell Village Stores said: “The lack of communication has been, and still is, very bad.

What with increased traffic due to holidays and harvesting vehicles, the road, never the easiest one to negotiate, has been ridiculous.

“Nobody seems to know what’s going on. Not the council, not Balfour Beatty, not Atkins Engineering, which appears to be subcontracted to do the work.

A spokesman for Atkins referred us to Wiltshire Council, which had not responded to our questions as the Journal went to press.

Paul Buttling of T Buttling butcher’s in Ludwell said: “This is a complete council mess-up. Everyone is passing the buck. It beggars belief.

“I took the decision not to shut on the first Saturday and thank goodness I did. I would have lost a lot of business if I had.”

Howard and Liz Legg of Greenacres Farm Shop said: “On the Sunday it was supposed to be closed, it was incredibly quiet.

“The lack of information has been the worst part.”

The work is now supposedly scheduled to take place on August 8, but it has not been said whether this will be during the day or in the evening.

Further work is scheduled to take place on August 23 – Bank Holiday weekend.

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