Friday, September 6, 2013
Businesses are calculating the costs of major roadworks that will cut traffic into Sidmouth for weeks.
The A3052 will be closed at Newton Poppleford for three weeks as South West Water conducts essential maintenance.
Extensive diversions will be in place for all traffic, causing disruption to staff – and could put customers off altogether.
After that, HGVs will continue to face lengthier routes for another eight weeks.
Steven Kendall-Torry, the chairman of the chamber of commerce, said: “The biggest concern is people thinking it’s too much effort to come to Sidmouth – thousands of jobs rely on access. The Christmas period is incredibly important, but we won’t know the full impact until January.” He said he had no doubt the roadworks would affect footfall in the shops, and is arranging a meeting with South West Water to represent the town’s businesses and get them up to speed.
“I was very surprised Sidmouth wasn’t part of the consultation,” added Mr Kendall-Torry.
Fields director Trevor Roberts said: “It’s essential work, but there is never a good time – we just have to grin and bear it.
“It’s going to cause disruption for customers and staff, but we will have to wait and see exactly what happens.”
Lorry driver Brian Poole added: “It’s going to cause chaos for HGV drivers – Sidbury is going to be gridlocked.”
Stewart Hayman, from butchers Haymans, said: “We get deliveries from Exeter and further afield – it will be more inconvenient to them than us. We complain when they break and complain when they close.”
Jo Fisher, a duty manager at The Anchor, said: “We won’t know until it happens – fingers crossed it won’t be too bad.”
Potbury’s floor manager Barry Coleman said the effect of the closure was difficult to predict, but could actually mean residents from further east shop more locally, rather than navigate the diversions to Exeter.
“One assumes that once the work is done there will be no further blockages,” he added.