Businesses could lose millions if A591 is not opened before May

The scene on the A591 at Dunmail Raise Credit: ITV Border

Businesses in the Lake District say they could lose between £40 million and £100 million if the flood-damaged A591 road is not re-opened before the end of May - the beginning of the tourist season.

A large chunk of the road was washed away in early December at Dunmail Raise, between Grasmere and Keswick, cutting off one of the main roads through the Lake District.

The famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop says its sales are currently 50-60% down and it's had to lay off two members of staff. It's left the 162 year old business facing one of its biggest crises.

Sales at the Grasmere Gingerbread shop are 60% down Credit: ITV Border

Getting from Grasmere to Keswick now requires a detour of around an hour and a half. There is talk of trying to open up a forestry road and even a route on the fell side to allow traffic through ahead of schedule.

Ambleside and other parts of the South Lakes say their livelihoods depend on the road re-opening faster than the current timetable.

Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria County Council says it understands the impact the closure is having but the leader, Stewart Young (Lab) adds that Highways England is working as quickly as possible.

A task force of Lake District businesses is working to try to speed up the process and find a way around their difficulties.