Stamford businesses lament Network Rail communication as Barnack Road closure hits trade
Stamford businesses have blamed a lack of thought and communication over the closure of Barnack Road which they say has hit their trade.
A small stretch of the road from High Street St Martins to Park Lane was closed on Saturday as Network Rail began strengthening work on Stamford tunnel.
The work is scheduled to continue until November 1, but a cluster of businesses along the road are already feeling the impact.
Malcolm Brandwood, owner of Maltings-based kitchen retailer QKS, said footfall was down 50 per cent since the closure, and blamed a lack of signs telling diverted motorists and pedestrians that Barnack Road businesses were open as usual.
“When they re-routed the traffic there was no mention on any of the signs to say businesses were functioning as normal.
“They couldn’t care less about us. It just shows no thought."
Ross Thwaites, who owns the neighbouring Colour Bank carpet and flooring business, said they first discovered the road closure through the Mercury and that communication had been poor.
"I've tried contacting them about the signs a couple of weeks ago, but getting anyone to call you back is virtually impossible," he said.
"The sign they put in place is a bit of a joke for a road closure which is going to be for the best part of four months."
Mr Brandwood also wants the sequence of the main traffic lights to be altered to fit with the temporary lights and said they were causing delays of more than 20 minutes.
“It knocks at least half-an-hour off what we are normally able to do," Mr Brandwood added.
"Going both ways you have to allow half-an-hour extra to go to an appointment.
“We have been working throughout the pandemic and been functioning as best we can, but this is just one more obstacle put in our way.”
Network Rail said businesses had been visited and consulted before work began and that new signs to help the businesses would be put in place on Thursday.
Gary Walsh, East Midlands route director for Network Rail, said: “We’re sorry for the disruption this has caused.
"We’re in regular contact with Lincolnshire County Council and working with them to minimise disruption as much as possible.
"In response to local requests, we’re putting extra signs for drivers and for pedestrians in place to make it clear that businesses are open as usual.
"Changes are also being made to the traffic light system to help reduce the build up of traffic in the area.
“We will continue to keep residents and businesses updated throughout the project and would like to thank them for their patience.”