It’s one more.. for the road
Boss says she’ll come back even stronger after diversion threatened her livelihood
A pub boss has vowed to come back stronger than ever after a 10-month road closure left her counting the cost.
Pauline O’Donnell, who owns the Auldhouse Arms and The Lost Lamb restaurant, feared she would have to call time when it was announced in January that a section of Auldhouse Road, as well as Moss Road, would close as part of a development of 485 homes by Taylor Wimpey on a 61-acre site at Benthall Farm.
The road upgrade saw a diversion of more than seven miles in place.
While South Lanarkshire Council and Taylor Wimpey said the total closure was “unavoidable”, residents and business owners were up in arms and Pauline said she has seen a 30 per cent drop in turnover.
The road reopened on Monday, much to the relief of those living and working in Auldhouse and the surrounding area.
However, Pauline told the News the last 10 months have been a “total nightmare”.
She said: “While I am overjoyed that the road has reopened, the way this has been handled from the beginning has been appalling.
“Many of us are still angry at the lack of communication from both the council and Taylor Wimpey.
“Locals were given assurances by the developer we would be given access to see how work was progressing and discuss concerns but they never came back with times or places.”
Pauline went on: “Many of us only learned about the closure when we read it in the East Kilbride News and have since discovered that notification letters were sent to the wrong postcode by the council – that about sums up the level of professionalism shown. “It’s been a total shambles.” Pauline also claims the surrounding road network – mainly single-track country roads – has been left in poor condition due to drivers trying to avoid the lengthy diversion.
“Verges have been totally dug up,” she said. “There are even more potholes on what were bad roads to begin with and there have been so many near-miss accidents between cars, especially those who don’t know the area, and large agricultural vehicles.
“The morning and afternoon rush hours, when parents have been dropping off and picking up kids from Auldhouse Primary School, has been particularly fraught.”
The mum-of-two added: “We still maintain there were other options which could have avoided all this chaos and the hit we have all taken in our pockets.
“Thankfully, I am still here and will now redouble my efforts to claw business back which started with a celebration to tie in with Fireworks Night on Sunday.”
David Blair, land and planning Director for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, said: “The programme and its timescales provided the most efficient way to complete the project, which included some complex and necessary utility diversions.
“We also worked closely with South Lanarkshire Council to agree and implement their diversion route in order to maximise the public’s safety during this period and to minimise any impact in Auldhouse village.
“We take the safety and any disruption to the local community very seriously and we apologise for any inconvenience this essential work caused during the 10-month closure.” 091117odonnell_05 091117odonnell_02
A spokesperson for South Lanarkshire Council said: “The closure was advertised by the council in the press, advance warning signs were also used and Taylor Wimpey undertook a separate PR exercise to publicise the closure. All alternatives were closely examined at the planning stages and this was the best of the available options.”
Road to recovery Pub boss Pauline O’Donnell hit out at works project which forced road closures
DeterminedPauline behind the bar at the Auldhouse Arms