MP spells out fears for traders if roads are closed for Nottingham tram works
BROXTOWE MP Anna Soubry has written to the Transport Secretary over concerns about the closure of a main road to build the new tram line.
Sections of Chilwell Road, Beeston, and High Road, Chilwell, will be shut for 12 months as part of the works.
Miss Soubry has said she fears many of the businesses on the road are already "on the edge" and the road closure will have a devastating effect.
She has written to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin with her concerns.
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She said: "Up until late September, NET – who are responsible for the tram works – assured me they would not close parts of High Road and Chilwell Road to traffic.
"They have gone back on that and the assurances given at the public inquiry. Understandably traders on both roads are angry and worried about the effect on their businesses."
Miss Soubry added that she felt traders on the road need more financial assistance than the £13,500 a year for each business against loss of profit.
She said: "I spoke to Patrick after the meeting between traders and tram operators NET and have now written to him formally to ask for a meeting and for his advice.
"The tram works are having a profound effect on residents and businesses in and around Beeston already – these planned road closures will make a seriously bad situation intolerable.
"I want to be sure that there is no alternative.
"If there isn't, then traders in particular need more support and assistance."
The proposed road closures will be between Middle Street and Ellis Grove for six months, and then from Ellis Grove to Holly Lane for another six months from September 2013.
The original plan was for a one-way system for 18 months, but contractors Taylor Woodrow Alstom say the new proposal will be safer for workers and pedestrians.
In her letter, Miss Soubry also says that she was unhappy with the notice given by NET that they were considering closing the road.
She writes: "I am extremely concerned that, as late as September 2012, I was receiving assurances from NET that rumours regarding the closure of Chilwell Road during the construction works were unfounded.
"In short, businesses on High Road and Chilwell Road are not prepared for such a profound level of disruption and damage to their business for such a lengthy period of time."
However, Beeston Rylands councillor Steve Barber said he was keen to look for "win-wins" which could help traders and the public.
He said: "I would like to see a shuttle bus which could continue to serve the roads during the work – it would be good for the public and be good for businesses.
"We could have it running from pub car parks during the day and perhaps it could be given clearance to go down the roads themselves like contractors' vehicles. It's just an idea that would help during the works."
But Steve Williams, of the Beeston Bed Centre in Chilwell Road, said: "If they can run shuttle buses, they can run a one way system.
"We have had this in the air for a long time, but it's such short notice that I can't believe it.
"I don't see what gives them the right to disrupt my business during the works."
A spokesman for Taylor Woodrow Wilson, the contractors who are carrying out the work for NET, previously told the Post it would work closely with the Beeston Business Improvement District and Broxtowe Borough Council on a range of measures, including destination branding and marketing initiatives which will support traders on Chilwell Road during the works.
Chris Deas, project director of NET, said: "The works are coming and I think it will be better to work together. I'm committed to working with traders in Chilwell Road."