‘Devonshire Road bridge closure diversions will damage our businesses’

Businesses on Devonshire Road are worried about the road closure affecting trade
Businesses on Devonshire Road are worried about the road closure affecting trade

Businesses who fear their trade will be hit by traffic diversions due to a bridge repair are calling on highways chiefs to rethink the diversion route.

Owners of shops and restaurants on Devonshire Road, near to Waverley Avenue, have warned they will lose important passing trade while restrictions are in place to enable repairs to be made to Devonshire Road Bridge.

Work to replace corroded steel beams will begin on June 4 and is expected to take 15 weeks to complete.

During that time Devonshire Road will be closed to southbound traffic between Claremont Road and Mansfield Road. Drivers will be diverted along Warbreck Hill Road, Plymouth Road, Poulton Road, Westcliffe Drive and Talbot Road.

But businesses say this will hit passing trade and have asked for drivers to be diverted along Warley Road instead.

Hazel Kay, of 4U Salon, said: “Fifteen weeks is such a long time for there to be a road closure and in today’s climate it’s enough to put some of us under.

“We need the traffic flow coming up here.

“I remember when the road was resurfaced several years ago and it was so quiet.”

Jo Gillespie, of Flower Sensations florist’s, said many of the businesses rely on passing trade.

She added: “People might pick up a bunch of flowers on their way home from work, for example, but for 15 weeks they are going to be diverted out of the way.

“It’s a long time to have that kind of disruption.

“It will be a lot of inconvenience for our customers who want to book flowers for funerals etc, and deliveries will also take longer.”

Leonardo Bianchi, of Ciao Ciao Italian restaurant, said: “It would have been better if we could have had more notice and I think the traffic should be diverted in a different way to ensure the businesses don’t suffer.”

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for highways said: “The advertised diversion route has been chosen as it is the most suitable route to take the same volume of traffic as Devonshire Road currently does.

“Warley Road is not practical because it has narrow points with lots of parked vehicles and a busy junction at Devonshire Road which could easily become hazardous.

“We will of course monitor the diversion route and make adjustments where possible. “We understand the works may cause some inconvenience and are happy to speak to businesses about any concerns they have.”