Flood works are presenting a barrier to trade

Safety barriers erected outside Treacle Wool during flood scheme work.
Safety barriers erected outside Treacle Wool during flood scheme work.

A fed-up shop owner is seeing a decline in trade after months of flood works near her premises.

Kim Hewison, who runs Treacle Wool in Chantry Place, has faced nine months of disruption since work began to strengthen flood defences around The Chantry.

And she says that unsightly safety fencing around the shop gives the impression it is closed.

“The flood work has to be done, but it has been a very trying time,” she said.

“The barriers come right up to the shop so it looks like it is closed. The courtyard is in such a state.

“We are in a really good part of the town, we have a strong community focus and we work extremely hard, but we feel as if things are against us.

“The barriers are definitely having an impact on the business. Customers tell us they thought we were closed. It’s so frustrating.

“There has been a complete lack of communication. We have no idea how long the work will go on for.”

The Environment Agency said an ‘open for business’ sign has been re-erected and the work should be finished in the next two months.

Project Manager Anthony Myatt said: “We apologise to businesses in Chantry Place for the disruption they have experienced while nearby flood defence works have been going on. Although we have maintained public access to the shops, we do understand that the fencing is intrusive and inconvenient.

“The barriers were put up for essential health and safety reasons. There have been times when work has been forced to pause and while this has happened we have moved the temporary barriers. However, this has not always been possible because of the time it takes.”