Shock road closure in Chipping Sodbury sparks fear among businesses
Updated 5:28pm Thursday 24th April 2014 in News By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
A ROAD in Chipping Sodbury which residents and traders fought to keep open to traffic will be closed next week for roadworks.
But few, if any, of the businesses based on Hatters Lane have been officially notified of the closure which will take effect from Monday, April 28.
The lane, which connects Chipping Sodbury High Street with two trading estates as well as as the St John’s Way estate, will be shut to traffic from its junction with Horse Street to number 33 at the junction with Gorlands Road to allow South Gloucestershire Council to carry out footpath widening works. The authority has a road closure order for up to 18 months but said the work should only take two weeks.
Alan Jarrett, of Jarrett Brothers garage on Hatters Lane, said: “I have heard nothing about this. We haven’t had a letter through the post and there are no warning signs up on the lampposts.
“I can’t believe we haven’t been told anything about it. We are rate payers and the council makes a good income from us yet they haven’t even had the courtesy to let us know.”
Mr Jarrett, who fought against the permanent closure of Hatters Lane in a bitter campaign which divided the town in 2012, added: “We rely on passing trade and when the road was closed a few months ago for a short time for cables to be relaid it was very disruptive, particularly for delivery drivers as they have to go all the way round Chipping Sodbury.
"Closing the road to put a few railings up seems a drastic measure and it is work which should have been done 20 years ago.
“I think it a way of doing an experimental closure through the back door.”
Maisie Henley, of Snax 2 You cafe also on Hatters Lane, said they had received no notification of the imminent closure.
“We get a lot of people just dropping by and most of them drive here as the car park is nearly always full,” she said. “We will certainly be a bit panicky about this.”
The council proposed to widen the pavements at the top of Hatters Lane, where it narrows to single traffic, after the failed campaign.
Resident John Weir said at the time: "I am amazed there has not been a serious accident and we don’t want to wait for something to happen.”
The Hatters Lane Group, made up of those for and anti the closure, was set up following the decision to work together for improvements to the road.
Secretary Nick Cragg said: "This is in line with the negotiations we have made with the council's highways department."
In a statement of reasons, the authority said: “Heavy goods vehicles are currently using the lane to access the trading estates in contravention of the weight limit and are using existing dropped kerbs to mount the footway.
“This is resulting in a safety hazard for residents leaving their property who have the risks of being struck by vehicles travelling along the footway.”
The council said the road had to be closed to protect the public during the works. Drivers will be diverted from Broad Street to Wickwar Road, St John’s Way, Horton Road and back on to the unaffected part of Hatters Lane.
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