Dalesway Cafe, Skipton: Cafe forced to lay off staff due to closure of A59 after landslip

It might be small but Dalesway Cafe’s importance to North Yorkshire’s economy can’t be understated.

It stands by the roadside of the A59 on the outskirts of Skipton with Kate Bailey and her team fuelling truckers with hearty full English breakfasts and big mugs of tea before they go out for their deliveries. It also welcomes construction workers building homes across the region and bikers coming to explore the stunning scenery of the Dales.

But the immediate closure of the A59 at Blubberhouses due to a landslip more than seven weeks ago has left Ms Bailey’s business reeling. The cafe is still open but she’s had to cut the opening hours, let four members of staff go and takings are down around £2,000 a week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To rub salt into the wound, she says communication from North Yorkshire Council about what is going on has been non-existent. She’s had to receive updates about the closure second-hand from customers.

The Dalesway Cafe on the A59 near Kex Gill is struggling due to the closure. Owner Kate Bailey is pictured.The Dalesway Cafe on the A59 near Kex Gill is struggling due to the closure. Owner Kate Bailey is pictured.
The Dalesway Cafe on the A59 near Kex Gill is struggling due to the closure. Owner Kate Bailey is pictured.

Ms Bailey bought the business four years ago and is proud of how she’s built it up and weathered the Covid-19 storm.

It is popular but when we visited on a sunny Friday afternoon, tables that would normally be full of hungry customers were empty. This is because the closure has resulted in a lengthy diversion through Ilkley. Access is still available to the cafe via the nearby Haw Park Roadabout but despite signs being put up, many customers think it’s closed.

The cafe’s biggest customers, truckers, have seen route times extended due to the diversion which means they now don’t have time to stop. And those in larger vehicles coming can’t turn in the cafe’s layby to get back towards the roundabout, making a visit impossible.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Bailey has tried to complain to the council but after finally getting through to a customer support officer in Northallerton she said the operator “hadn’t a clue” where Skipton was.

The Dalesway Cafe in SkiptonThe Dalesway Cafe in Skipton
The Dalesway Cafe in Skipton

Ms Bailey said: “The only thing I’ve got from the council is a case number. I’m more than let down, I’m angry. Why can’t they get it fixed?”

The A59 at Kex Gill is prone to landslips which is why the council is building a new £68.8m route to bypass the notoriously unreliable section. For business owners who rely on trade from the road like Ms Bailey, it doesn’t feel like getting the current route back open is being treated as a priority by the council.

Earlier this month, London’s M25 shut for a weekend for essential works and the irony is not lost on Ms Bailey. She added: “Roads in Japan have sinkholes and they’re back open within 24 hours.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Whilst visiting, two customers arrive with one gesturing towards the empty tables — “It would normally be chocka with bikers,” he says.

The beautiful views from the Dalesway Cafe in SkiptonThe beautiful views from the Dalesway Cafe in Skipton
The beautiful views from the Dalesway Cafe in Skipton

His friend adds: “We’ve had to do a right detour to get here. It’s ridiculous, man.”

The road is set to remain closed during the busy Easter break, which should be one of the busiest times of the year for the cafe. Ms Bailey hopes the council will be able to compensate businesses affected by the closure like hers, but she isn’t holding her breath.

She added: “It’s not about profit and loss, sometimes you can ride a storm, it’s about losing staff. I don’t mind if the council said look, we’ll really work hard to get it open quick, but there’s nothing. That’s the frustrating thing.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

North Yorkshire Council’s corporate director of environment, Karl Battersby, said: “We apologise for the significant inconvenience that the closure of the A59 at Kex Gill is causing to residents and businesses.

“We would again like to thank people for their patience and reiterate that we are doing all we can to complete the repair as quickly and safely as possible. The original repair that we were proposing has had to be changed, as the condition of the road has worsened. We now have an agreed specification for the works and a contractor lined up to install the metal sheet piles which will stabilise the road.

“We will shortly be issuing the contract for the works, which we anticipate will take approximately six weeks. We are proposing to so some night working to get the road re- opened as quickly as we can. As soon as the contract is signed and we have an agreed programme, we will update the public.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.