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Shopkeepers say Chipping Norton roadworks are driving away customers
SHOPKEEPERS in Chipping Norton say their takings have nosedived since the start of roadworks that have closed the main road through the town centre.
The £400,000 project to resurface Horsefair, which takes the A44 and A361 through the Market Place, began last week and is due to continue until the end of next week.
Businesses say customers are staying away, even though car parks are not affected by the work.
One shopkeeper said she was on the point of closing her doors until the work was over. Others complained that they had been given just 10 days’ notice.
But Oxfordshire County Council said it had discussed its plans with Chipping Norton Town Council in April, The town council said businesses were made aware at the end of June and the issue was discussed at the council meeting on July 15.
Trevor Beadle, owner of Beadle’s butchers in Market Street said: “I should have gone on holiday; it’s as bad as that. I won’t take enough money to pay wages. I don’t think we were given enough notice. It has never been like this before.”
Lee Brain, Mr Beadle’s shop manager, said: “It’s got even quieter this week, if anything, and we really struggled to pay wages last week.”
Lisa Barnes, owner of gift shop Bippity Boo, said: “If it keeps like it is, I might need to close, so I can earn money elsewhere, as I have my rent and bills to pay.”
Debbie Roger, co-owner of Roger’s fishmongers, in New Street, said: “There wasn’t enough consultation with businesses about the work and how it would affect us.
“On a week-by-week comparison, we took much less money last week than the previous week, before they started work.
“People must just think Chippy is closed.”
Mayor Mike Tysoe said: “We thought that Oxfordshire County Council had this under control. They know who pays business rates and they have lots of staff to let everyone know. The town council has three part-time staff.”
County council deputy leader Rodney Rose, who represents Charlbury & Wychwood, said: “I don’t really accept that we should consult whether maintenance should be carried out. It’s a statutory duty to make sure we do that.”
David Nimmo Smith, the county council’s cabinet member for environment, who represents Henley, said: “The work needs to be done and we chose August as it was the quietest month for traffic, the weather is generally better and the days longer.
“It’s up to the town council to look after its residents and businesses and we would expect them to be representing the town.”
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