Bradford on Avon in the grip of traffic gridlock
Businesses hit by the Christmas floods in Bradford on Avon are being hammered again this Easter because of roadworks that have shut the main road through town.
The 24-hour road closure in Market Street, from the start of the Easter school holidays on April 7 and running until May 6, is to allow for drainage works in preparation for the creation of the Historic Core Zone but it has caused traffic delays and damage to trade.
And there are fears the congestion will get worse once the schools go back on Tuesday.
A number of businesses were forced to close or limit their trade in the wake of the floods, including the Swan Hotel in Market Street.
Owner James Sullivan-Tailyour said: “I thought I had just clawed back from the flooding, and now this. We are going to be still struggling for another two years to get back from where we are now.
“It is the Easter holidays so I put on extra staff but there is nothing they can do. We rely on people coming into the town but because of the road closure nobody wants to drive through it.
“I appreciate the free car parking but it would be nice to have support from the powers that be. It is Easter Bank Holiday and there is May Bank Holiday. Give us the whole time free and take the hit with us.
“The businesses are all in the same boat. We are all struggling to make ends meet but we are pulling together. We want people to know they can still access the town and none of the businesses are closed.”
Neston Flowers in Church Street, which was also flooded, has been cut off by the closure.
Owner Jacqui Mehrez said: “The radio is saying Market Street is closed, but not saying the businesses are open.
“Easter is a busy time and although we have some weddings, it is not good. This has affected everybody.”
Mike Brigham, who runs Bradford on Avon Taxis, said: “When the schools go back it will be gridlocked. Staverton and Trowbridge Road will be full and people will be cutting through Westwood and Freshford.”
St Laurence School parent governor Sarah Richardson said: “The school are aware of the fact that this is going to have an impact on attendance and punctuality.
“The school have warned parents that it is going to take longer to get to school because of the traffic. They will be taking a realistic approach (towards punctuality) for the term of the traffic issues.”
Rosemary Brown, Wiltshire councillor for Bradford on Avon North, said: “These works have to take precedence. We have to acknowledge that they are extremely important.”
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