Traders still feeling pinch after £3million project

It is six months since a £3 million road project was completed on a major route on the Black Country and Staffordshire border.

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The Vine island in Wolverhampton

But traders say they are still feeling the pinch. Work on the Vine Island project in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, was finished by Wolverhampton City Council last December.

However months after the roadworks were removed from the busy roundabout, shops near to the junction say their takings are still down.

The revamp, which saw the junction remodelled, was carried out in an effort to boost links to the the £500 million Jaguar Land Rover plant being constructed on the i54 business park on the border between Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.

There will eventually be 1,400 workers based at the car manufacturing plant.

But Lynn Roberts who runs Olive Grove on the A449 Stafford Road says she is still waiting for business to pick up months after the disruption ended.

She said: “I’m sad to say I can’t see any difference in business. My takings are down more than what we expected them to be after the roadworks had finished. The road is too fast for people to stop here. Cars are looking down the Stafford Road and can see a straight road and they don’t see the island so people are picking up speed by the time they pass our shops.

“There needs to be better signage. At the moment people coming out of Bee Lane are having to turn left towards shops in Three Tuns. Our business is being directed away from us.”

While the work was being carried out business owners claimed they had seen their trade drop by as much as 50 per cent. It left Ms Roberts on the brink of closure as she admitted to struggling to pay bills. She expressed her relief that the work was completed in December but was left furious when workers returned in February to carry out lighting work near to the junction.

This included a lane closure on the Stafford Road, which Ms Robert described as a ‘never ending nightmare’.

Samantha Simpkiss, owner of The Brook Coffee House on Stafford Road, has also called for better signage.

She said: “It is not as busy as I like and I think the lack of signs has contributed to that. We have seen no improvement since it finished and we’re doing all we can to promote our business.

“I’d like to see a zebra crossing because at the moment people are still running across the road to get to us.” Wolverhampton council said that work on Wobaston Road which connects to the Vine Island and the Stafford Road may have contributed to disruption to traffic in the area.

The authority also said it was planning on putting up signs for business near to Vine Island in the coming weeks. Wolverhampton City Council spokesman Gurdip Thandi said: “The latest phase of works for the Wobaston Road Highway Improvement Scheme, involving the closure of the Patshull Avenue junction, will continue over the coming weeks. The junction was originally due to re-open to traffic around mid-June. Delays have been caused due to utility companies encountering problems with diverting underground pipes and cables.

“We anticipate that this phase of the work will now be complete by July.”

Comments for: "Traders still feeling pinch after £3million project"

markie

This is not unique, town centre retailers all over the country are struggling. Initially it was because of the recession, but internet trading has taken a lot of town centre trade away.

Despite all of this most local councils continue to charge unrealistic amounts for car parking. Business rates should be reduced to try to help town centre retailers to survive. Any extra profit made because of this would be taxed in the normal way.