‘Shocking’, ‘absolutely dead’: Shop owners in North Yorkshire take aim at council as roadworks cause drop in takings

Businesses have hit out at the “shocking” impact of roadworks in Normanby on their trade.

Redcar and Cleveland Council said the £350,000 scheme to make improvements to the Normanby Top junction were “essential” and currently on schedule to be completed next month.

A temporary traffic light system has been in place at the busy junction for the past five weeks with access from Cleveland Street and West Street onto the High Street also closed off.

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Jackie Clarke, who has operated Allium florists in Cleveland Street for the past 19 years, said: “People aren’t parking up and coming in for flowers, we’ve lost the walk-in trade.

Jackie Clarke of Allium florists in Cleveland Street, Normanby. Picture/credit: Stuart Arnold/LDRSJackie Clarke of Allium florists in Cleveland Street, Normanby. Picture/credit: Stuart Arnold/LDRS
Jackie Clarke of Allium florists in Cleveland Street, Normanby. Picture/credit: Stuart Arnold/LDRS

“We are about £300 or £400 down a week and have lost a lot of money.

“I have never known my business be down like this, it’s shocking really

“The lasses at Tesco have said they are losing twenty grand a week, but they are a big company and we aren’t.”

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Mrs Clarke, who lives in nearby Teesville, said the council should compensate those affected.

Roadworks in Normanby. Picture/credit: Stuart Arnold/LDRS.Roadworks in Normanby. Picture/credit: Stuart Arnold/LDRS.
Roadworks in Normanby. Picture/credit: Stuart Arnold/LDRS.

Another local business owner, who did not want to be named, said: “We have all felt this badly.

“You can’t claim on your insurance – you’d need to take out specific insurance for roadworks and it costs a fortune.

“My shop is usually really busy and [trade] fell off the cliff face for a couple of weeks, but fortunately some of my regulars are supporting me a bit more.

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“I know people who have businesses in central Normanby which are absolutely dead and I feel very sorry for them.”

The roadworks were recently raised in Parliament by local MP Jacob Young, who said: “This is having a huge impact on businesses.

“It is obviously important that when local authorities are planning major roadworks like this they give serious consideration to the damage they can do to local businesses.”

‘Normanby is gridlocked’

Val Llewellyn, who lives in Ormesby Road, Normanby, and is a carer for her daughter, said: “I usually go straight up West Street to get to Flatts Lane, but I now have to go all the way round onto Bankfields Road to get to my daughter’s four times a day.

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“They [the council] said they closed West Street to stop a gridlock, but Normanby is gridlocked anyway with peak time traffic, it’s horrendous.

“My five minute journey can now take up to 25, 30 minutes.

“However my main concern is the businesses – we already have empty shops in Normanby – and they need support.”

Another member of the public claimed: “The council has only had four workers on the job at most with no overtime or weekend working.

“Trade in local shops has dropped by 50%.”

A spokesman for the council said: “This is essential work designed to improve journey times and road safety.

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“It involves installing new traffic signals, reconstructing the carriageway and widening the junction to facilitate motorists turning right from the High Street to Normanby Road.

“The work is on schedule with a completion date for June 11 and has included the need to accommodate vital, existing utility services.

“This is not uncommon and crews have been used elsewhere during forced delays.

“Working hours have been maximised to hit the completion deadline.

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“Motorists are asked to remain patient during these essential works and reminded it is illegal to remove barriers.”

At the scene

When I arrived on a late Tuesday afternoon in Normanby there was ample evidence of the disruption being caused – lots of barriers and signs were on display – but I could see no actual engineering activity.

Lengthy traffic queues were building up at the junction of the High Street, Normanby Road and Cleveland Street.

Trying to cross the High Street on foot and pushing a button to signal traffic to stop, an elderly woman informed me ‘That’s not working’.

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‘Lots of things aren’t working around here it seems’, I replied half-jokingly, to which she nodded sagely.

I then watched as she attempted to head to the local Tesco on the corner, only to find the pavement barriered off to pedestrians and with a bemused look on her face do a quick about turn.

On West Street, another street blocked to through traffic, a woman at a local garage described how customers were staying away because of the inconvenience caused by the roadworks.

A resident who stopped to speak to me from her front gate pointed out tyre tracks on a grass verge where some motorists had mounted the kerb to avoid a dead end, creating an impromptu shortcut onto a back street.

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Back on the High Street a few beauty salons were open, as well as a convenience store and chemist, and, peeking through the doors of the local Turkish barbers, they could be seen electric razoring their way through some severe skin fades on young heads.

However other small businesses appeared to have chosen to close early for the day.

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