Complaints as the A420 closure hits tourist town
5:30am Friday 25th July 2014 in By Craig Jones, Reporter
“There’s been a lot of beeping horns and drivers swearing and shouting because of the roadworks.”
This is Lechlade antique dealer Dom Smith’s view of the disruption that has come to the village following Oxfordshire Council’s decision to close the Shrivenham bypass on the A420 for seven weeks.
The major roadworks, which started earlier this week, have caused chaos in Shrivenham but residents and business owners in Lechlade are equally frustrated with the work, which has resulted in increased traffic passing through the village and temporary traffic lights being put up.
Dom, who lives in High Street, and also has a business there, said: “We have never had traffic like this before. The volume is absolutely huge.
“This has led to lots of noise and terrible smells running through the village.
“This is going to have a significant effect on businesses here as people are getting frustrated passing through and the traffic is putting tourists off stopping and visiting the shops.”
Some residents received paperwork through the post showing how the planned work would affect Lechlade, but many did not.
Judy Hurt, who runs The Christmas Shop, in High Street, said: “We knew of the A420 work for some time but I, like many of the businesses and residents, haven’t received a letter informing us of the traffic lights being put up. They said there is something on their website but not everybody will check that.
“It is early days but the work has had an impact on trade and if it continues like this we’re in for a difficult seven weeks.
“I think the lights should be taken down and we can see how it is then and we also need to have someone checking the lorries coming through the village, as many are crossing the bridge - despite exceeding its restrictions.”
Judy is sending flyers to her neighbouring businesses urging them to complain to Oxfordshire Council and their MP, Geoffrey Cliffton-Brown, about Lechlade’s traffic problems.
Resident Margaret Hing said: “I personally didn’t receive any confirmation about what was going to happen in Lechlade and there were no notices up.
“We always seem to be treated like the poor relations because we are on the fringes.”
Anne Wilden, who runs Lechlade Post Office, also in High Street, said she could understand the frustration of her neighbours but appreciates that the A420 work needs doing.
She said: “When the lights first went up there was an effect on trade but we seem to be back to normal today. I’m sure the people doing the work and overseeing the lights are doing the best they can.”
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