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West Bay traders' fury over road "enhancements"
TRADERS in West Bay are so angry with enhancement scheme roadworks devastating their businesses they want compensation.
A group got together last week to air their concerns and enlist the help of Coun Ros Kayes. On road of enhancement road narrowing roads into the bay will be closed for three weeks for resurfacing - and one of those weeks is half term.
They say letters went to residents - but not businesses - notifying them of the closure which will be catastrophic for their livelihoods, they say.
Anne Guppy of Prototech said her takings since the roadworks started are down 50 per cent.
They were not happy about the council not letting them know abut the road closures.
"The effects anyway have been devastating, the co-ordination, the health and safety and access is in such a complete mess.
"They have got to be running so late, it is not even half complete and they are practically at the end of their original deadline.
"I have spoken to lots of our customers and they are more than happy to sign a petition.
"We are all weary because we are frightened of losing our businesses down here.
"We really need some help and support.
"We are looking for compensation - we are going to have three weeks of road closures and one of those is a half term week. This is all vital economy for us. We are distraught.
"Nobody seems to be caring."
She said even when the work is done the narrowed road will be a disaster with buses expected to pass each other with a blind corner on a junction.
"It is terrifying."
All the traders at the meeting from Lindsey Blair who runs four businesses in the bay, to Gerry White, co-ordinator of the Homewatch scheme, Colin Paul of the Bayside and Finesse, Steven Jones of the Bridport Arms, Richard Attrill of Harbour Stores and Neil Chilcott of The Riverside all said the timing of the road closures was appalling.
Mrs Blair said: "My main concerns are with the way they have carried out the work and the fact they are closing West Bay during half term week which is the only time we have for making any money before Easter.
"And second, the effect of the work when it is finished."
Mr White said he was concerned about the impact of the work and that there were no facilities for pedestrians.
Mr Paul said the impact on trade had been devastating.
He said: "There is total disregard for public access and safety."
Mr Jones said times were tough enough without shutting the road during half term.
Mr Attrill said: "My main concerns are the road closures over half term and the fact that no-one listened in the first place.
"The so-called enhancement is totally unnecessary in the first place."
Mr Chilcott agreed. "Nobody listens to the voice of the people in West Bay no matter how many meetings we go to and how many people we talk to they don't care."
A Dorset County Council spokesman said: "Visitors will be able to access West Bay as normal during the first week, although it would be advisable to park in the main car park in West Bay Road."During the second and third week, there will be a signed diversion to West Bay via Marsh Barn Road. "Signs will be placed around the area to inform the public that businesses will be open as usual during the works."We sent letters to both local residents and businesses to inform them of the works. In November, we also sent a letter to Bridport Chamber of Commerce, which we understand includes West Bay, to let them know about the scheme."