Long-term road closure lifted which saw businesses' footfall drop by 80 per cent

PUBLISHED: 21:00 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 07 January 2019

The Rodney Stoke Inn holding manager, Jamie Smart, says road closures have affected business.      Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The Rodney Stoke Inn holding manager, Jamie Smart, says road closures have affected business. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A three-month road closure which has seen vehicles diverted by up to 35 miles was lifted on Friday.

Julia Garrett and her team at Garrett Saddlers in Draycott.Julia Garrett and her team at Garrett Saddlers in Draycott.

A stretch of the A371 road, which runs through the villages of Draycott and Rodney Stoke, is now open – but businesses in the area have reported their businesses suffering an up to 80 per cent drop in footfall since the closures began.

Since October, Bristol Water, Wales & West Utilities and Gigaclear have been replacing water mains, metal piping and installing fibre optic broadband respectively and consecutively in both Draycott and Wells Road.

But despite the works being completed three months early, villagers have complained of a lack of communication from the companies involved.

The Rodney Stoke Inn’s holding manager, Jamie Hill, said: “It has been a nightmare, the drop in business is quite severe and all passing trade has been non-existent.

“No-one has really known what’s been going on and it seemed like communication just went down the pan.

“It should pick up now as it’s been re-opened, but I’ve had to cancel a lot of bookings because people just haven’t been able to make it here.”

The owner of Draycott horse riding business Garrett Saddlers, Julia Garrett, said: “The highways people are lovely but never get back to us.

“Christmas is a really important time for small businesses in the area and they have missed out on a lot of passing trade which has impacted their way of making a living.

“It is a necessity, so we can’t complain, but I personally had to cut my staff’s hours to be able to afford to pay them – thankfully they have been absolutely amazing and have understood the situation entirely.”

A spokesman for Hooke Highways Traffic Management, which has monitored the roadworks, said: “We have worked closely with the companies and have tried to keep disruption to as minimal as possible.

“This has been a very stressful time for the people living in Rodney Stoke and Draycott and we would like to thank everyone for their help and input during this time.”

The works were completed last weekend and the road is now open for vehicles to freely pass through.

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