Blackpool traders' anger at bridge closure plan
Frustrated business owners on Waterloo Road have hit out at plans to carry out roadworks at the peak of their trading season.
Retailers in the South Beach area said they were shocked to find out that the bridge over the railway near Blackpool South station is to be partially closed for six weeks from Monday.
It means a road closure on the eastbound carriageway on Waterloo Road bridge and intermittent closure of the whole bridge at certain times to allow strengthening work to go ahead.
Traders said although traffic will still be able to use the bridge to head towards the Promenade, the closure will affect deliveries in the bridge area and the full closures of the road will put off passing trade.
Traders held a meeting at Notarianni’s Ice Cream parlour as par t of the South Shore Beacons group.
Chris Fellows, from Royal Oak Furnishing on Waterloo Road, said the closures would affect his business.
He said: “When I heard about this I went round to the other businesses last week and they had been told nothing. Although the westbound road will be open it will mean the big delivery wagons for ourselves and the auction house there will struggle to get in.
“It is coming at the start of the main holiday season, right during Scottish holidays weeks, and I cannot understand why this could not have been done straight after Easter.”
Susanne Johnston, from the South Shore Beacons group, said: “This is a major route into this important part of the resort at the worst possible time. Traders rely on this time of year to make their money. People do not drive here from the Prom because it is one way, 70 to 80 per cent of customers come down this route.
“This is exactly why we created the South Shore Beacons group because we want to work closely with the council on matter like this when decision have to be taken.
“Sometimes retailers here feel that there is a gap in communications with the council and as a result they feel this part of town is neglected.
“We want to support the council’s efforts so they can support ours too. It would be helpful if the council can let traders know, perhaps through our group and our Facebook page, when the full closures of the bridge are going to be so they can prepare and inform delivery drivers.”
The council said the work could only be undertaken during warmer temperatures and there was no guarantee of that after Easter.
Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for highways, said: “This work has to be carried out and we apologise in advance for any delays.”