Shopkeepers in a Nottinghamshire town are furious at plans to close a road for up to a year to allow for tram construction works. Traders in Beeston are worried that the closures will hit sales and could put some out of business.
Work is already well underway on the £570m extension to the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) network, which will see new lines running to Beeston and Chilwell. NET had originally planned to create a one-way system of traffic on Chilwell Road and High Road for 18 months to carry out utility works.
But at a meeting last week, contractors told traders that they will now need to close off two sections of the road, each for six months, starting next spring.
Paul Williams, who jointly runs the Beeston Bed Centre on Chilwell Road, said, "We're going to be hit in a big way. We don't need it at all. In a recession, this is the last thing that we need here."
The local MP, Anna Soubry, has written to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin expressing her worries about the impact on traders. In it, she says,
– Local MP, Anna Soubry
"The complete closure totalling 12 months will have a devastating effect on the shops, food outlets and other businesses ... most of these businesses are on the edge given the current economic climate and a road closure will be the end of them."
NET say they will provide free long and short stay parking in the area and help businesses to load and unload goods. Project Director, Chris Deas, said:
– Express Transit (NET) network
"We fully understand the worries of the traders. We've looked at the needs of the traders about servicing and the need for a pedestrian environment that people can safely move in."