Angry traders say the closure of Hampden Park level crossing was badly timed and has left them counting the cost.
Business owners have also said that signs in the area saying ‘road closed’ were misleading and a call for compensation has been turned down.
Ruth Goncalves, manager of Petals Florist, said she had to contact Network Rail several times to ask for signs to be put up saying ‘business as usual’. She added, “The way the whole thing has been handled is very poor.”
Shaun Robinson, owner of The Treasure Chest, added, “It’s not really about the works going on because they’re essential.
“It’s how they have gone about it. Signs have been put up sending out the wrong message that the village is closed.”
Sid Charmer, owner of Hampden Food & Wine, said, “It’s been really dire, it’s over 50 per cent down on a daily basis. The post office being closed as well is a nail in the coffin.”
Traders face more misery as although the level crossing which was closed to traffic for a week has now re-opened, gas works in the area mean that Mountfield Road is closed one way until Friday December 13.
Keith Pryke, owner of The Filling Station, said, “I accept the work has to be done and there’s never a good time but disappointed there’s not compensation”, while Bev Kenward, sales assistant at Paper Lane, said, “Early mornings have been really affected, we’ve lost a lot of through trade from people going to work and during the day it has really slowed down as well.”
But Amir Talabi, of The Station Cafe, said, “It’s been OK, they are just doing their job and they have to carry on.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said, “The Hampden Park level crossing was closed for a week while we carried out essential work to upgrade it.
“Local businesses were notified of the closure and we delivered around 4,000 letters to local people so they were aware.
“Signs were put up on the approach to either side of the crossing and, after feedback, additional signs were added which made it clear that local businesses were open as usual.
“The work was necessary as part of our commitment to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway and anyone with any questions should contact our national helpline.
“The level crossing has now reopened and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”