Wragby businesses losing thousands because of roadworks

Rod Alcock outside the Ivy Public House
Rod Alcock outside the Ivy Public House

Business owners in Wragby are losing tens of thousands of pounds a week because of roadworks - with no sign of compensation.

Businesses say they are battling for survival because of a controversial programme of improvements to the main A158 in the centre of Wragby.

They claim the roadworks have ripped the heart out of trade with one owner admitting: “It’s killing us.”

To make matters worse, the A158 is shut completely between 7pm and 7am for up to the next two weeks to allow major re-surfacing to be carried out. The diversion is via Caistor High Road and Market Rasen.

The News can reveal a catalogue of problems for businesses including:

*The landlord of the Ivy public house who has slashed his opening hours and is losing £2,500-a-week;

*The recently re-opened Post Office, where takings are down between £4-500 a week;

*The family owned Whisby Butchers who admit to heavy losses and describe trading as “a nightmare”;

Perhaps the most heartbreaking story is a DIY and builders merchant supply company which opened just days before the roadworks started.

Owner Patrick Kelly sunk between £40-50,000 of savings into the venture and admitted he has been losing more than £1,000 a week.

To add to his problems, Mr Kelly has to make a 12-mile diversion just to make a 400-yard delivery in Wragby - because the B1202 towards Market Rasen is also closed for the works.

Many of the businesses the News spoke to slammed the County Council for a lack of information and a “couldn’t care less” attitude.

Rod Alcock, landlord of the Ivy Public House, said: “The roadworks are killing us - and every other business in Wragby.

“We’re £2,500-a-week down - at least. It’s a nightmare. We’ve tried complaining to the County Council but they don’t want to know and don’t even care.

“We’ve asked about compensation but I know we won’t get a single penny. Talk about the County Council trying to help local business.”

Mr Alcock has stopped lunchtime openings because trade has disappeared.

He said people were cancelling bookings because of fears about road closures and parking problems.

Ruth Whisby, from Whisby Butchers, said trading was a nightmare. She added: “Normally, this is one of our busiest times of the year with passing trade but no-one is stopping in Wragby.

“ We just want it to end.”

Builder supplier owner Mr Kelly said: “It’s been really difficult. If I want to make a delivery in Wragby, it’s a 12 mile round trip.

“I complained to the council and they asked couldn’t my customers park in the Market Place and carry anything back to their car. Have you tried carrying one bag of cement - never mind four?”

Josie Exton, who runs the combined Pet Shop and Post Office said: “We’re still getting locals in but no-one else. We’re down £400 or £500 a week.”

Business owners admitted the road improvements needed to be carried out but questioned the timing and planning process.

Police have said some motorists are ignoring the road closure signs and were verbally abusing contractors.

A County Council spokesman described the works as ‘essential’ and said he was ‘genuinely sorry’ for anyone affected.

He added: “I’m sure everyone will be pleased to hear the work will be completed by July 18 and we shouldn’t need to return for another 20 years.”