Beleaguered traders at Crumps Farm, Sawbridgeworth, facing more disruption on access road
It’s been the toughest of times for businesses over the past couple of years but for a group of traders located on the outskirts of Sawbridgeworth there have been extra barriers in their way.
For small businesses based at Crumps Farm, West Road, it wasn’t only Covid-19 which led to a “disastrous” 2021 as work at a new housing estate further hit trade as access was blocked. The closure of West Road, from the mini-roundabout at Cambridge Road to Beanfield Road for works including laying gas mains was a major blow - and they are facing more disruption this year.
Melanie Rich, from Enchanted Bridal Boutique, told the Indie: “There’s nothing we can do - it’s totally out of our control. But we don’t get any support from the council,” said Mel. In a previous Indie article the traders called for better signage informing people they were still in business and there was an improvement.
Mel’s business is ticking over despite everything, but she said she had sympathy with people trying to arrange weddings throughout the pandemic and some brides had to have ‘off the peg’ dresses due to a quick turnaround.
More closures are planned for the next few months for more gas works along with a major restructuring of the roundabout at the junction of West Road and Cambridge Road which will, in Mel’s words, cause absolute chaos.
But Mel said: “We’re still ploughing on as we don’t want to lose our businesses,” said Mel. “We want to let people know that we are still here and open as usual.”
The other businesses at the workshops include Vicki’s Floral Designs, Made In Bluebell Wood arts and crafts store and gifts shop Nyol Creations
Stacey Pickton, of Nyol Creations, who has been at the farm for two years, said the closure of the road, which sees drivers diverted through High Wych and past the Manor of Groves Hotel in High Wych Lane, has caused her problems.
“I had to go and meet a customer by the Rivers hospital and then go on to my house [in High Wych]. We’ve had a few people who have been late and we have had to rearrange appointments.”
Although frustrated the businesses do not get enough notice of the closures, Mel was praising of the help provided by town mayor Cllr Greg Rattey. “He’s been fantastic because he’s been liaising directly with the builders,” she said.
Cllr Rattey said: “I think the traders at Crumps Farm have been treated appallingly. They should have had some form of compensation.” But he added recent meetings with a projects manager from Taylor Wimpy business had been productive and he had been helpful to the traders.
Cllr Eric Buckmaster, Hertfordshire County councillor for Sawbridgeworth, said he had posted details of two-way signals planned for West Road between January 31 and February 4, 9.30am-4.30pm, on the town's Facebook Group. He added an additional problem is unplanned utility emergency works.