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Trade loss fear over road closure as help for Looe businesses looms

By CGMikeS  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

By Mike Smallcombe @CGMikeS

Trade loss fear over road closure as help for Looe businesses looms
Comments (1)

BUSINESSES in Looe say they will lose up to 60 percent of their holiday trade when a road is closed for four months from Monday.

Cornwall Council will start work to stabilise the area of the town’s St Martin's Road, following a landslip last year which killed a 68-year-old woman.

The 18-week project will see a seven mile diversion put in place, and some businesses in the resort want the work to be delayed until after the main summer season.

Cornwall Council said a deal had been agreed to support those affected by the operation, which includes a campaign to promote Looe, Polperro and the surrounding area to visitors.

Simon Barber, who runs Looe Chandlery, is unsure if his business can withstand a second season without the road.

He said: "It's the main road into Looe from Plymouth and it will be closed again until July. We went through that closure last year and I don't know if we can stand a second season of it being closed again."

Businesses in the resort are concerned the road works are taking place over Easter.

Neil Hipkiss, who runs the Trehaven Manor Hotel in Looe, said: "I did a poll and 70% of the population wanted the work to be done in the winter.

"I don't think Cornwall Council has listened to people. During last year's closure we were 60% down on the takings of the previous year."

The stabilising work comes almost a year after 68-year-old Susan Norman was killed in the collapse of Veronica Flats.

The council said it would be working with partners to "ensure that access to and from Looe is made as easy as possible".

A liaison officer has been appointed by the authority to act as a first point of contact for concerned residents and businesses during the works.

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HERE IS THE COMPLETE LIST of the measures that will be taken by the council to help businesses.

• A campaign to promote Looe, Polperro and the surrounding area to visitors. This will build on the success of the previous Looe is Open for Business campaign and will be led by Visit Cornwall.

• Comprehensive diversionary signage – - a detailed traffic management scheme, including signage, has been agreed with the local Cornwall councillors. A plan showing the location of the signs will be available on the council’s website.

• A traffic management scheme – traffic lights will be installed on Barbican Hill which will also be subject to a 20 mph speed limit. The council will be liaising with businesses at the bottom of Barbican Hill to ensure that they continue to receive planned deliveries. The operation of the traffic signals will be monitored and reviewed after the first week with the police, emergency services and local Cornwall Council members to see if any changes need to be made to improve the operation of the traffic, provided these do not compromise safety. The proposal to reintroduce through traffic on Shutta as part of a one way system was investigated but has not been found to be practical because of the narrowness of the road and the multiple pedestrian accesses.

• The council will also be erecting temporary signs to help reduce speed on the A387 following concerns from local residents and parish councillors; temporary traffic lights will also be installed on the A387 between the Venton Vanes and Bindown junctions.

• A temporary speed limit of 20 mph will be introduced on Sandplace Road during the period that St Martin’s Road is closed.

• A footpath diversion St Martin’s Road through the Barclay House Hotel will be available while the works are being carried out.

• Concessionary parking for parents around school drop off and collection times. Parents will be provided with permits enabling them to park in the Riverbank car park during school drop off and collection times to allow them to walk their children to and from school; the permits are being delivered to the schools so they can be handed out today.

• Free coach parking will be available for coaches visiting Looe in the Millpool Car Park from Monday, March 10.

• Free shuttle bus service – work is continuing on investigating the feasibility and cost of introducing a shuttle bus between Sunrising and Barbican into the town centre.

• Business information is being provided to local businesses on the support available to help with businesses rates during the road closure and for the impact of winter storms and flooding.

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  • trumpetylump  |  March 08 2014, 9:37AM

    So Here we go again, If you want to deter people from coming to Looe, tell the world it is difficult too access. Self interest and a complacent attitude pervade this town, you know it may be more difficult than you may have experienced recently but get on with it. The traders are just building a case for failure and trying to pin it on some one else. The B road will be closed for a while but everyone of the complainers forgets the A road is open via Sandplace. Claiming that Looe will be difficult to access portrays a negative perspective that has now been widely reported in the press. This belly aching to the media by individuals with self interest rather than considering the wider community picture and the issues of the displaced residents of Sandplace Rd is a narrow and selfish reaction. Try harder and get used to the fact it won't be as easy as previous years. What we should be reporting is that when the road is finally repaired and for the summer it will be easy to access Looe but while it is restricted the Sandplace road is one of the most scenic routes of South East Cornwall and is a joy to drive with a jewel in the cornish coast at the end

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