Sunday, 24 March 2019

Landlord angry at return of roadworks outside pub

Landlord angry at return of roadworks outside pub

A PUB landlord says he will lose “substantial” takings because of road repairs taking place this week.

Nick Willson, owner of the Flowing Spring in Playhatch, believes the night-time closure of the A4155, which began on Wednesday and will end at 6am tomorrow (Saturday) will have put off customers. 

This is the latest in a series of closures of the road over the last 18 months. 

Tarmac, which operates the Sonning Works by the River Thames in Eye and Dunsden, is resurfacing the carriageway at Span Hill between the junctions of Spring Lane and Plough Lane.

The company is also installing new cats eyes and painting white lines to complete the access into a new extended quarry area, which was granted planning permission in 2014. The access road will be used to import materials such as soils to progressively restore the site.

The work was taking place from 8pm to 6am on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during which time access was “limited” to emergency services vehicles and residents within the closed section of road.

Mr Willson, who runs the pub with his wife Hazel Lucas, is unhappy that the roadworks are taking place when the pub is usually full of customers. He said: “As you would expect, 8pm is a very busy time at the pub and if people know they can’t get out or back home they will be put off completely from coming.

“We will lose a large chunk of business on those days and Friday in particular is busy and we will lose out for no fault of our own. We have to just put up with it as there is no recourse for us.

“The pub trade is hard at the best of times and to have another road closure is unreasonable and makes it even harder than it is already.”

A section of the A4155 between the Playhatch roundabout and Spring Lane was closed for repairs for 10 weeks between August and November 2017.

The road had suffered a partial collapse due to flooding and sheet piling was installed to fix the westbound lane at a cost of £1.2million.

But within weeks the road began to develop defects and last August the stretch was closed again overnight so that the potholes could be repaired.

Mr Willson said: “This is yet another road closure. We have now had a long one from August to November to rebuild the road, which they made a mess of so they had to do it again.

“Once again we’re going to lose substantial income from yet another road closure with customers unable to get here.

“It’s going to inconvenience those living near us on Henley Road and on Spring Lane and have an impact once more on the neighbouring villages which have to suffer the diverted traffic.” 

Mr Willson claimed he had not received any notice of the work and that the advance notice signs were unreadable for passing drivers.

He said: “No one can read the signs as the print is so small. If you are driving you won’t be able to read them if you are going at more than 2mph.

“As a result most people do not know what the signs say and people are unaware of the closure.”

A spokeswoman for Tarmac said the company had worked closely with Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, so there was as little disruption as possible.

She said: “The road closure this week enables us to complete an access into the quarry’s new extension area.

“We are restoring the quarry in phases to minimise the size of the operational area and this access is needed for us to import the restoration materials necessary for us to do this. However, we recognise that closing this road does cause inconvenience to residents and businesses and can only thank them for their patience during this period.”

The company said it had held an information day for residents to inform them about its planned work and a liaison group made up of local councillors, met regularly.

Two diversion routes are in place. The first is from the A4155 and involves travelling to Dunsden Green, following the diversion signs past Shiplake Row and along Memorial Avenue. Heavy goods vehicles and vehicles over 7.5 tons are permitted to use this route.

The second diversion is off Henley Road (A4155), where vehicles travel along the B481 through Sonning Common, past Rotherfield Greys and Highmoor Cross. At Nettlebed, take the third exit at the roundabout and follow the diversion signs along the A4130. Continue to follow the diversion signs through Assendon and Henley and then Harpsden on the A4155. This will join on to the first diversion that goes through Dunsden Green. 

Only vehicles under 7.5 tons are allowed to use this route.

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley or email
letters @henleystandard.co.uk

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