Businesses at Crumps Farm, Sawbridgeworth say West Road closure for housing development works is a 'disaster'
Desperate business owners say the closure of a road has killed passing trade and led to a major hit on takings.
West Road, Sawbridgeworth, which runs from the mini-roundabout in Cambridge Road through to Beanfield Road, has been subject to several closures, due to works at new housing developments.
Taylor Wimpey has permission to build 133 homes on the SAWB 2 development on land to the north of West Road, while David Wilson Homes is building at least 175 homes on the SAWB3 Chalks Farm site south of West Road.
The latest road closure began on Monday October 25 and runs until November 29 and that follows closures throughout this year for various works projects, including laying gas mains.
Drivers wishing to access the businesses along West Road are diverted through High Wych and past the Manor of Groves Hotel in High Wych Lane.
Businesses along the road include Huws Gray Ridgeons building trade suppliers, The Orange Tree restaurant and pub and small businesses at Crumps Farm, including The Enchanted Bridal Boutique, Vicki's Floral Designs and Made In Bluebell Wood arts and crafts store.
Vicki Cowell, from Vicki's Floral Designs, said it was a constant battle to keep going.
"Before the closures I was getting a lot of passing trade. Now I'm having to throw stock away - it's been a disaster," said Vicki, who opened her business in June 2018.
Vicki feels the businesses at Crumps Farm are neglected and revealed two weeks ago she had not had one single order.
"It's so hard - I've got workshops starting, but I just don't know how long it's going to go on," added Vicki, who feels some signage next to the 'road closure' signs indicating that businesses along the road were open as usual would be helpful.
Melanie Rich, who owns The Enchanted Bridal Boutique, said although her business was ticking over she was suffering from a drop in passing trade.
"No one's coming to the shop, they just can't get here," said Melanie. She revealed one of her customers had a car accident as she made her way through the diversion via High Wych after being met by a construction lorry and others had been late for appointments when they were delayed on the diversion route.
Melanie is scathing of the planning process asking why compensation for the West Road businesses was not built into the application to build homes by developers.
At last week's full town council meeting mayor Cllr Greg Rattey said although businesses in the town were doing well, those along West Road were struggling and he admitted they had been neglected.
Cllr Rattey is planning to meet with the developers to discuss compensation, although when he questioned county councillor Eric Buckmaster at the council meeting he said it was unlikely that would happen.