Carnforth pub landlord takes council to court over roadworks fiasco

Bill Johnston at The Canal Turn in Carnforth
Bill Johnston at The Canal Turn in Carnforth
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A Carnforth pub landlord says he has lost thousands of pounds in revenue after Lancashire County Council closed a road without notifying businesses.

Bill Johnston, former managing director at Bay Radio, who took on The Canal Turn in 2017, said the county council completely failed to inform him and other businesses that they were carrying out resurfacing works on the A6 in August last year.

The 'road ahead closed' sign on the A6 near Carnforth

The 'road ahead closed' sign on the A6 near Carnforth

He said since then the council have failed to respond to written complaints and phone calls, and as a result, he has been forced to take legal action.

Mr Johnston said the most damaging effect on his business were signs erected on the entrance to the A6 saying: “A6 Carnforth closed”, despite the road being fully open.

The works lasted nearly three weeks.

Mr Johnston said: “Everybody wanted the work to be done but to carry out works for 20 days, creating Carnforth’s biggest disruption for years, and to be told absolutely nothing, was discourteous and astonishing.

“There was a complete failure to consult with us, and others, and it’s had a crippling effect on our business, costing us thousands.

“To make matters worse multiple ‘road ahead closed’ signs were left up on numerous occasions and over whole weekends, even when the road was fully open, effectively shutting our pub.

“As well as not following best practice issued by government, the county council didn’t even follow their own published legal notes issued to contractors when there’s a need for a road closure.

“Plus ‘businesses open as usual’ signs didn’t go up until a week after the works had started.

“As a start-up business it’s put us in an incredibly dangerous position.”

Coun John Reynolds, who represents Carnforth and Mill Head, said: “The essential resurfacing works which took place on the A6 in Carnforth in August 2018 needed to happen, and were universally welcomed.

“However, I believe that residents and business owners alike expected Lancashire County Council to act in accordance with their own procedures and as they are statutorily required to do so.

“By failing to complete adequate consultation with those most directly impacted by the works and by failing to work with them to ensure the resurfacing was completed with minimal community impact, I believe Lancashire County Council are liable for claims such as the one Mr Johnston has legitimately made.”

Mr Johnston’s claim is due to be heard at the county court next month.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “It would not be appropriate to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing.”