Traders hit out as profits plummet

Traffic chaos in Whalley
Traffic chaos in Whalley
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Roadworks in Whalley are causing misery for traders who claim business has plummeted as a result.

Supermarket giant Co-op is opening a new store at the former Whalley Arms pub in the centre of the village after a six-figure investment.

However, due to building work and scaffolding, shopkeepers have highlighted their plight and the effect temporary traffic lights have had on footfall to their businesses.

Kellie Hughes, who runs Kellie Hughes Hair Studio in King Street, said: “Its a nightmare and absolutely horrendous. Whalley is gridlocked every single day from 6am to 11pm. Of course there is no parking in the village. I live above my business and I can hear the building work all the time. It’s disruptive for my staff and clients too. The whole situation is crazy.”

Also unhappy is Virginia James, who runs CJ’s sandwich shop. She said she has seen a massive drop in trade, with the added misery of delivery vans unable to get to the village.

She explained: “Trade has halved by 50% since roadworks began. In fact, there is no passing trade in Whalley now.

“It’s dreadful as there are so many independent jobs which rely on customers.

“We are struggling with deliveries as truck drivers don’t want to come to Whalley only to get stuck in traffic.”

Hilary Cookson, who runs Maureen Cookson Ltd, added: “The village has currently lost 43 car parking spaces whilst the work goes on.

“To add insult to injury thewhole of King Street is now a no-go area for parking.”

Store officials have apologised to motorists for roadworks in King Street and Accrington Road and have stressed that they are looking at ways to ease the disruption. Once Co-op opens in May, customers will be offered 45 minutes of free parking at the store’s car park.

A spokesman for Co-op said: “We are working with the local community and looking for ways to support their needs whilst maintaining a safe working environment. Traffic management systems are due to be in place until early April. There is no pavement on Accrington Road, which means that the scaffold has to sit on the road itself. Contractors wrote to 100 business, shops and houses during the first week of January prior to commencement of works.”

The picturesque village of Whalley is famous for its historic buildings, characterful and independent shops and lovely cafes and restaurants. Gillian Darbyshire, of Darbyshire and Co, is encouraging people from outside the area to support the village.

She said: “It is very difficult at the moment due to roadworks, but we would like people to support Whalley and the local economy. It is one of the only places in Lancashire to be so unique with individual businesses. We are losing too many individual type shops and there is so much to see in Whalley.”

Meanwhile, Whalley councillor Terry Hill said talks are people held to support the traders.

He commented: “It’s a difficult situation, but regrettably Co-op have no other option. We have had a meeting with the site manager and they are working as fast as they can. They are trying to restore a Grade II listed building to its former glory. The weather has now improved from last week’s snow and they will hopefully be able to crack on. In the meanwhile, Coun. Joyce Holgate and I have written to Mr Marshal Scott, chief executive of Ribble Valley Borough Council, appealing for some kind of rate relief for the shopkeepers in Whalley.

“It might be difficult now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”