More Darkes days ahead over Potters Bar street closure

TWO working weeks – that is the time-frame some traders in Potters Bar are likely to be without road access to their businesses after it was confirmed that one of the town’s busiest thoroughfares is set to close.

Hertfordshire Highways has proposed that sections of Darkes Lane will be shut for major resurfacing between Monday, February 15 and Friday, February 26, despite initially notifying traders of a five-day closure.

The full extent of the plans were revealed at a heated public meeting at the Wyllyotts Centre on Thursday, attended by around 50 shopkeepers and councillors, including Tugay Sevincli.

Work is scheduled to start between the junction of Mountway and The Avenue during the school half-term week of February 15, before moving onto the section between The Avenue and Manor Road the following week.

Many traders were angry about not being consulted earlier and claimed Hertfordshire Highways “hadn’t done their homework”.

Chas Nethercott, who owns a family funeral directors in Darkes Lane, said: “How can I turn around to the people of Potters Bar and say that they cannot have a funeral?

“To be told there is no way round it is absolutely disgraceful.”

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David Callan, Hertfordshire Highways project engineer, attended the meeting to respond to traders’ concerns.

Mr Callan said: “It is something that has been identified from last winter when the road took a heavy beating.

“It is one of the worst roads we have ever seen.”

Any hopes of closing half the road to allow traffic through were dismissed because of health and safety fears.

“I can’t maintain access for everyone all of the time,” Mr Callen said. “I can’t guarantee the safety of the workforce and the public at the same time.

“It is a very difficult position to be in and I totally understand where everyone is coming from.”

Mr Callen said he will consider moving some of the work to the weekend but has warned this could incur a 50 per cent increase in labour costs.