Welwyn Garden City road closure is ‘killing business’

BUSINESSES in a WGC industrial estate fear week-long repairs to a major access road could damage their livelihoods.

Retailers in and around Swallowfields have blasted Herts Highways for not formally notifying them of plans to close sections of Bridge Road East and Heronswood Road for five days, as workers carry out repairs.

The stretch of road is shut in both directions between 9.30am and 4.30pm all this week, from the junction of Swallowfields and Peartree Lane to Salisbury Road.

Motorists can still access the estate via the entrance next to B&Q in Bridge Road East.

But Alistair Turner, owner of JN Tyres Autocare in Swallow End, said many customers approaching from the east side of town had failed to turn up for service and MOT appointments because of the closure.

“It’s dead,” he said. “They’re killing the businesses down here.

“My till’s telling me I’m 20 per cent down this week so far. I’ve spoken to Herts Highways and they don’t seem interested.

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“I find their whole attitude in this particular instance stinks.”

Nick Smith from Burrowfield Auto Services in Woodfield Road added: “It’s a joke. Customers are being turned away, and not being told how to get back in.

“I saw a few signs but there was certainly no formal notice to say the road was closing.”

A Herts Highways spokeswoman said notice boards warning of the works had been in place two weeks in advance. “The road closure and diversion route allow for access to Swallowfields,” she said.

“Businesses are not cut off and ‘Businesses open as usual’ signs are in place.”

And Nick Foster, a manager at distribution firm PW Gates, also in Swallow End, did not see the road closure as a problem.

“As long as there’s access to the place we don’t have anything to worry about,” he said. “I was aware of the closure, my lorry drivers were aware of the closure, so it’s come as no surprise to us.”

Firefighters at WGC fire station on Bridge Road East were also sanguine about the closure.

Station commander Rad Bristow said crews were emerging onto Woodfield Road and going back round Swallowfields in order to get past the closure.

“As far as we’re concerned it’s business as usual,” he said.