Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Road closure has made life better, says gallery owner

A GALLERY owner has called for a section of a busy through-road in Henley to be made one-way.

A GALLERY owner has called for a section of a busy through-road in Henley to be made one-way.

Patricia Jordan Evans, director of the Bohun Gallery in Reading Road, says she has experienced “untold benefits” since Greys Road was shut for gas mains repair work seven weeks ago.

This has meant that Reading Road has effectively become one-way because there is no traffic coming out of Greys Road and going towards Reading.

She said: “The traffic is calmer and moves more quickly and there are no more traffic jams here.

“It is a much pleasanter environment since the roadworks. No more large lorries going in the other direction holding up traffic when meeting another lorry or bus going towards town and no more scratched cars and broken mirrors or frayed tempers.



“It also seems as if more people are walking about – it is a pleasanter place to walk now it is not filled with petrol/diesel fumes.”

Ms Jordan Evans has written to David Nimmo Smith, Henley’s representative on Oxfordshire County Council and cabinet member for environment, asking if the section of Reading Road near her gallery could be made one-way permanently.

“Anything you can achieve for this end of town would be wonderful and most gratefully received,” she said.

Other businesses in that part of Reading Road have also noticed the benefits.

Louisa Bisson, manager of furniture store Brook House, said: “The road closure has been quite good for us with the traffic going one way. It means that we can take deliveries easily and customers can pull over in front of the shop so they can come in and pick something up.

“We did think that having the road closed it would be worse.”

David Watts, team leader at HSL chair specialists, said there had been fewer lorries passing and fewer traffic jams.

He said: “I don’t think we have found it much different in terms of business but it has made it easier for our customers to cross the road.”

Paul Bradley, owner of bathroom tiles shop Steepal, said he felt there had been an increase in footfall recently but he put that down to the weather improving.

“There are generally more people about when you are heading towards summer,” he said.

Liz Felix, owner of Liz Felix Millinery, said: “The lack of lorries is very nice but I have found a lot of people being unable to get to the car park in Greys Road. A lot of our customers come from outside town so they get confused.”

She said more should be done to increase footfall in Reading Road anyway and suggested putting up bunting.

She said: “It would be nice to pretty up the area – the shops don’t end at the crossroads in the centre of town.”

Councillor Nimmo Smith, who is also a town councillor, has asked for the issue to be discussed at the next meeting of Henley Town Council’s traffic advisory committee.

He said: “Pat is the first person from a business to come to me in support of this.

“At the moment there don’t appear to be any overwhelming congestion issues around the town but it is certainly more difficult getting out of St Andrew’s Road, where I live.”



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