Trader’s anger at roadwork signs

Alfriston village, through traffic cut off by road works which have stopped visitors and affected tradespeople.  March 21st 2013 E12180P'Local people have called the barriers 'Checkpoint Charlie'.
Alfriston village, through traffic cut off by road works which have stopped visitors and affected tradespeople. March 21st 2013 E12180P'Local people have called the barriers 'Checkpoint Charlie'.

An angry Alfriston trader has said road signs put in place to warn motorists of works going on in the village are ‘unsympathetic’ and have ‘decimated’ trade.

The village’s High Sreet has been closed to traffic for weeks and diversions have been put in place, with businesses still open to customers but Diane Meek, who owns Pearls of Alfriston, said the signage is just one of many problems that have ruined trade recently.

The Alfriston resident blasted the signage as ‘grossly inaccurate’ and ‘dangerous’ and said that trade had suffered badly and she was now struggling to pay the rent.

She said, “The ‘road ahead closed signs’ were far more prominent than the ‘village open’ ones. I think in the past four weeks it could have been carried out more sympathetically.”

She said the signs were eventually changed around but the works have seen other problems with the free car park being partly taken up by equipment used for the works and a 6ft mesh barrier put up by her business leading to difficulty for people accessing the footpaths. Earlier this week she said North Street had been resurfaced and there were low barriers and cones from Pearls Corner to Star Lane.

Diane, who has run the business for four-and-half years, had fired off an angry email to East Sussex County Council (ESCC).

It said, ‘ESCC has seriously compromised the viability of all businesses in Alfriston by the over zealous, (forward planning maybe, but unneccesary by at least four weeks), inadequate, grossly inaccurate, dangerous and misleading signage. Proven by the fact that the High Street itself was not closed for the first two weeks of the works and other facts that have now come to light’.

Works in the area began on February 18 with old and worn pipe beneath the High Street that drains surface water from the road being replaced. The project includes the whole stretch of road then being resurfaced.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said, “Inevitably, when essential works such as these are carried out, there will be some disruption caused, but we have done everything we can to keep this to a minimum to residents and businesses in Alfriston.

“We do understand the concerns of business owners but we are satisfied that adequate signage is in place and that those advising motorists businesses are open as usual are clearly visible to motorists.

“We are pleased to say that thanks to the efforts of our crews and despite the recent bad weather, we are around five to seven days ahead of schedule and we now expect the works to be completed before the start of the Easter weekend.”