Marlborough's traders being strangled by roadworks chaos - businesses report up to 50% loss of sales

Written by Sue Round on .

DIY Rainbow - what their customers have to negotiate to get in to the shopDIY Rainbow - what their customers have to negotiate to get in to the shopTwo weeks ago Wiltshire Council asked Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) to postpone their road works involving temporary traffic lights where the High Street meets New Road and The Parade in order to ease traffic problems in the town.  And the road works did indeed stop but all the equipment was just abandoned.

Most of the equipment has been stacked up in The Parade with no thought given to how this affects businesses and the day to day life of the people who live there.

Jigs Patel, owner of Rainbows is perhaps the most affected.  A very large pile of pink barriers and paraphernalia is dumped outside his shop.

“It’s an absolute shambles.  There are plenty of places around the town where they could have left their stuff which could have been out of the way.   When they’re not working it shouldn’t be there – it’s just a dumping ground.  I understand they have to do the work but this is just thoughtless.  What should have been a three week job has turned into six to eight weeks.”

As a result Jigs’s sales are 30% to 40% down and on Saturdays close to 50% down.  “Last week was just atrocious.  I’ve never seen it this bad.  I’ve been busier on Christmas Eve. I’ve seen people drive around and look and you know they want to come in but there’s nowhere to park and so they give up.”

With the parking spaces taken up with SSE’s equipment, Jigs parked further down The Parade and it was the last straw when he was given a parking ticket.

There’s also the problem of deliveries.  When Jigs had two pallets of paint delivered the nearest the delivery van could get to the shop was StPeter’s School!

Jigs also believes that people will not want to visit the town.  “The town looks a complete mess.  The pink barriers fell over and people have driven into them.”

Nick Stringer of D&R in The Parade commented, “There was a noticeable drop in trade yesterday for no apparent reason other than the traffic lights on Salisbury Road.”

With the end of the Salisbury Road traffic lights can report that today (February 21) traffic is moving freely in the town.  However, the SSE roadworks are due to start again on March 5 and then there will be the London Road and George Lane roadworks on the horizon.  In a High Street where so many businesses are struggling for survival, under pressure from road congestion, parking charge policy and extremely high rents this is very bad news indeed.