Flood-hit shopkeepers in plea for road closure delay

Business owners at The Wolfhouse Gallery
Business owners at The Wolfhouse Gallery

Businesses in Silverdale say they may not survive a three month road closure scheduled for later this year.

Shopkeepers at The Wolfhouse Gallery in Lindeth Road say water company United Utilities is “riding roughshod” over requests to postpone work on a 150m stretch of Warton Road until the new year, to give businesses more time to recover from the December floods.

United Utilities will be closing the main route between Carnforth and Silverdale from September 1 to improve the water quality in Morecambe Bay. The company apologised and said the timing was unavoidable.

But Wyn Abbot, from Wyn Abbot Ceramics, based at the Wolfhouse Gallery, said: “There are many many local businesses who even though were not directly flooded found their trade plummeting, ourselves included.

“September to December is the busiest time for retailers and this sees us through the very quiet months between January to Easter; this year we have only just started to see tourists coming back to the area and things are only just starting to pick up.

“Seriously, some have struggled to make it thus far.

“It means a significantly long and not the best detour, and there will be no direct access from Carnforth to Warton/Silverdale and vice versa.

“We have contacted our MP and local councillor who have contacted United Utilities for us and Carnforth Chamber of Trade have lodged an objection with United Utilities however we are not feeling optimistic. We fully accept the road needs to close but would prefer this to be in Janurary to March 2017 when there will be less impact.

“Those of us who weren’t flooded cannot claim compensation from our insurance but the effect of the floods have seriously impacted on us and some retailers feel they may not survive this road closure.”

A spokesman for United Utilities said: “We’re really sorry about the inconvenience the works on Warton Road will cause to residents, visitors and businesses in Carnforth. There is never a good time to close roads and we don’t take these decisions lightly.

“We have scheduled the works in order to meet our obligations under the European bathing water regulations which must be completed by April 2017. That means we would not be able to delay the closure until January.”