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Tourism trade improves since A591 reopening

Tourism businesses along one of the Lake District's main roads say trade has improved significantly since it re-opened just over a week ago.

The A591 closed due to damage caused by December's floods. A stretch of the road between Keswick and Grasmere collapsed during Storm Desmond.

Katie Hunter reports from a classic car event held to celebrate its re-opening.

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'Phenomenal difference' for businesses as A591 opens

Heaton Cooper Studio Credit: Heaton Cooper Studio

The re-opening of a flood-damaged Lake District road has made a "phenomenal difference" to businesses, local communities have told ITV Border.

Becky Heaton Cooper, who runs the Heaton Cooper Studio and art gallery in Grasmere, says her business was hit hard by the five month closure of the A591.

But she says the re-opening of the road has given her business an immediate boost.

There has been a phenomenal difference. It's like someone has turned a light back on.

– Becky Heaton Cooper

Tourism businesses host A591 reopening celebrations

The A591 re-opened on May 11th Credit: ITV News Border

Tourism businesses are hosting a series of celebrations today to mark the official reopening of the A591.

The road between Keswick and Grasmere collapsed due to flooding during Storm Desmond in December. It reopened last week and businesses are now keen to promote the area.

Celebrations include a vintage car display and a children's poetry reading.

"The closure of the A591 following Storm Desmond had a terrible impact on local residents and local businesses, but the good news is that the road is now fixed.

"This event is about sending the message loud and clear that Cumbria is back 'open for business'.

"I'd like to thank all those who have helped to organise this event, as well as those who have contributed funding, in particular South Lakeland District Council."

– Tim Farron MP, South Lakes, Lib Dem

Floods Minister: 'Lake District is open for business'

Rory Stewart was at the ceremony. Credit: ITV Border

Floods Minister and local MP Rory Stewart says the re-opening of the A591 shows that Cumbria is very much "open for business".

The major Lake District route had been closed since the Storm Desmond floods on 5 December.

But the MP for Penrith and the Border says there's plenty more work to do, with a £10 million flood defence repair programme underway.

The work to open the A591 early shows how we are standing firmly behind communities hit by December's flooding with investment in infrastructure, new flood defences and promoting the region across the world. I am delighted Highways England has managed to do this at such high quality in very difficult circumstances.

We are showing the country, and the world, that Cumbria and the Lake District are back open for business.

– Rory Stewart, Floods Minister

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