CHIP SHOP OWNER: ‘TOLL BAR ROUNDABOUT ROADWORKS WILL KILL MY BUSINESS’
NEW WALTHAM CHIP SHOP OWNER SPEAKS OUT
TOLL Bar roundabout “D-Day” has arrived as the council prepares to make the final decision on the controversial junction. Local residents, businesses, politicians and even the nearby school have spoken out against North East Lincolnshire Council’s plans, feeling that they will be disastrous for the area. The school has concerns for school children’s safety, as do local residents who also fear up to eight months of hell as the works to rip up the roundabout and install traffic lights takes place, shutting down what they see to be a key artery into their villages of Waltham and New Waltham.
Local business owners also fear for their future, believing that people will avoid the area entirely – costing them valuable footfall that they cannot afford to lose.
Samantha Buley is one of those business owners, who runs Peaks Lane Fish Bar, Peaks Lane, New Waltham, which won the 2016 Grimsby Telegraph Fish and Chips of the Year competition and she has spoken out about her fears for the future: “I bought the Peaks Lane Fish Bar two-and-a-half years ago and since then I have put everything that I have into this business to get it to where it is. I haven’t had a holiday since I took over the place because I am just not in a position to take one, I need to focus on my business. “When we started off it was tough, but I feel that we quickly earned a reputation locally and got ourselves to a place where we where comfortable and it has been a joy working here in New Waltham.
“But in March things took a turn for the worst when the road works started at the bottom of the road to widen the junction at Hewitts Avenue.
“It felt like we went through six months of hell, because the road was closed and people simply found it too difficult to come to our shop. I would often see regular customers in town who would come up to me and tell me how much they wished they could get to the shop, but with the road being closed it was far too hard for them.
“We saw our trade cut in half, because we were not getting the passing trade that small businesses like mine rely on. The shop next door to mine had to shut and the shop next to it is now up for sale, those six months cost us so much.
“The only way that we managed to stay open was by taking out a loan to cover the costs, because we felt that we could pull things back once the road was open again.
“When the road opened our trade picked up straight away and things were good again, but now I fear that we are about to take another hit again which will simply kill us.
“I have already taken out a loan on the business to stay open and can’t go back and get another. “I have written to the council to express my views, but the only real response that I got was ‘don’t worry when all of the houses have been built, you will get lots of footfall’.
“I am not sure that they understand that houses that will be built in two or three years will be of no use to me if I have to close my business in the next six months because of Toll Bar roundabout.
“I have even written to the leader of the council to tell him of my fears and shared with him the steps that I have had to take recently just to stay open, but he never got back to me.
“I thought that the council was supposed to be looking out for small businesses like mine, but it seems to me they are far more interested in out of town developers.
“I just don’t see why the council cannot abandon this plan, there is such overwhelming opposition to the whole thing I just do not see why it would go ahead. I really hope that they just stop it altogether.”
The North East Lincolnshire Council Cabinet will make the final decision on Toll Bar roundabout at 2pm today.
Samantha Buley, from Peaks Lane Fish Bar, says traffic lights and the work involved at Tollbar roundabout could put her out of business.
Traffic backing up along Hewitts Avenue during the temporary closure of Peaks Lane, New Waltham, whilst roadworks were carried out.
Other businesses along Peaks Lane are also said to be struggling.