It’s one more.. for the road

Boss says she’ll come back even stronger af­ter di­ver­sion threat­ened her liveli­hood

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - Ni­cola Find­lay

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

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