Fears of impact on shops as roadworks continue

Roadworks at Cliftton Drive South, St Annes
Roadworks at Cliftton Drive South, St Annes

Traffic delays following a sewer collapse at the heart of St Annes town centre are set to last into next week – to the frustration of traders as well as drivers.

The three-way lights were set up after a hole suddenly appeared on Clifton Drive South at its junction with Wood Street.

After initial investigation, Lancashire County Council highways officials passed the matter on to United Utilities, responsible for sewers, which has confirmed a sewer collapse under the road. The sewer works have followed hot on the heels of temporary traffic lights on Clifton Drive North – and a leading traders’ official has claimed the succession of delays are causing a slump in business.

“There are definitely fewer people around town this year - and many of those that come in have complained about difficulty getting here because of roadworks,” said Veli Kirk, vice-chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership. “There seem to be so many around and every new set just adds to the problems.”

To add to travellers’ woes, Squires Gate Lane, just over the Blackpool border and a key link to St Annes from the M55, remains closed until March, while trains on the South Fylde Line are replaced by buses until late January.

Veli added: “Of course the work has to be done, but it is hardly ideal timing at such a busy time for traders – and there is certainly evidence that business is down compared to 12 months ago because of the travel problems.”

A United Utilities spokesman said: “Traffic management is in place for safety reasons and our engineers are currently on with the repair. We’re very sorry about the disruption and we’ll get the repairs done as quickly as we can.”