Traders call for support during seven weeks of road closuresBy Laura Herbert
January 16, 2013
‘Use us or lose us’ is the message from businesses as work to upgrade Wokingham’s water mains moves into the town centre.
As South East Water engineers prepare to start seven weeks of road closures in Broad Street, shop owners are appealing for support.
Georgina Hustler, owner of Antique Rose in Bush Walk, said: “There is going to be a lot more work around the town over the next couple of years with the regeneration. We are trying to make Wokingham great, but if people don’t come to the town, then there won’t be anything here.”
Just over 4km of new mains have been laid as part of a £2 million scheme to upgrade 7.1km of pipes.
Broad Street will be closed or have a one-way system in place from Wednesday, February 6, before engineers move work into Shute End for a further two weeks.
Miss Hustler said: “It will affect us as after Christmas is our busiest period with Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter, but it depends on how they manage the traffic.
“If it is only closed one way it wouldn’t be as bad compared to when it is completely closed and the traffic is being sent round the houses.”
She added: “We want our customers to support us but it is difficult when they can’t get into town. A lot of our customers use the car park in Rose Street, which is going to be quite hard to access.
“There is nothing we can do, the work has got to be done but the timing is awful.”
Traders at the town’s outdoor market say the work should have taken place throughout January when shops and traffic are quieter.
Kathy Obsborne, who runs ShedKraft, said: “Doing it during the four weeks after Christmas wouldn’t have affected us as badly as it is going to.
“The traders are concerned but we understand it has to be done.”
She added: “We are trying to promote Wokingham as much as we can but if people don’t use the facilities they will be gone.
“The town is still open and still running but they [South East Water] need to ensure we have good
signage to car parks, especially for people who haven’t been to Wokingham before.”
South East Water held a drop-in session at Wokingham Borough Council’s offices, in Shute End, on Monday, attracting 21 people.
One woman, who works in Broad Street but wished to remain anonymous, said: “It will be a nightmare going to and from work but we will have clients visiting so we will have to try and keep track of what’s going on.
“South East Water said they will keep the access open but until it starts we are not going to know.”
James Smith, South East Water delivery manager, said: “Both the construction and project teams have been working extremely hard which has resulted in our work remaining on target to complete this spring.
“Each drop-in session has been successful in providing the community with detailed information regarding our work while also gaining extremely useful local knowledge from residents which can be incorporated in our plans.”
For more information, including the diversion routes for Broad Street, visit www.southeastwater.co.uk/wokingham.
|London Road (Rances Lane to Wiltshire Road)||Complete|
|Woosehill Meadows||Main installed|
|Toutley Road and Matthewsgreen Road||01/10/13||28 weeks||Road closure and temporary traffic lights|
|Rose Street phase 1 (between Wiltshire Rd and Cross Street junctions)||Complete|
|London Road (Rances Lane to Clay Lane)||Complete|
|Arthur Road||08/12/13||5 weeks (inc. two week Christmas break)||Road closure|
|London Road (Coppid Beech roundabout)||3rdDecember 2012||12 weeks||Lane Closures|
|Rose Street phase 2 (between Cross Street and Broad Street junctions)||3rd January 2013||5 weeks||One-way system|
|Brookside||21/01/13||6 weeks||Road closure|
|Broad Street||06/02/13||7 weeks||Road closure/one-way system|
|Brookside to Reading Road||21/02/13||7 weeks||Local signage|
|Shute End||30/03/13||2 weeks||Road closure|