Local business to close as Gipsy Patch Lane roadworks have ‘devastating’ impact
Roadworks on Gipsy Patch Lane are continuing to have a devastating impact on some local businesses, despite the road having reopened to vehicles travelling westbound.
On Monday the key Bristol route opened to traffic for the first time in almost two years, albeit one-way, following months of roadworks and a full road closure to allow for a new railway bridge to be installed.
But some nearby businesses say the new one-way system is “making no difference” to them, with one shop owner saying she plans to shut her business as a result of loss of revenue from the ongoing disruption. This is despite the council saying it has "engaged with and supported local businesses."
Narinder Bains, who runs card store Celebrations on Gifford Crescent, told BristolLive she is going to shut up shop after almost 10 years of trading due to the ‘devastating’ ongoing impact of the Gipsy Patch Lane roadworks.
As work on the road continues, there is no access to Gifford Crescent via Gipsy Patch Lane, with customers to the Crescent’s convenience stores only able to access them via Kingsway.
“Since the closure of Gipsy Patch Lane nobody can come here,” Narinder said. “We are getting half the amount of customers we did before.
“I mostly get old people here but they’re not coming anymore. Everything is so quiet, I only get a few locals.
“I am going to close my business as people just can’t get through.”
It’s a similar tale at the neighbouring Premier shop, owned by Kalai.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said, discussing the timescale of the roadworks, which the council say are due to be complete in late 2022.
“Businesses are taking the brunt of this. No one can access them, sometimes the area is deserted.
“In my opinion this one-way system is helping nobody.”
The road has been shut to allow for bridge works to take place, which are part of the Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension (CPME) scheme, which will provide a direct bus link between Bristol Parkway and The Mall.
The new bridge will provide room for new bus lanes in each direction and shared use cycle and pedestrian pathways, as well as general traffic lanes.
The reopening of Gipsy Patch Lane, which was scheduled for July, has been delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The impact of the road closure, and current one-way system, is being felt east of the bridge, too.
Pegasus Park, next to the Rolls Royce site, is home to a raft of businesses including Stagecoach, Strenco, Quality Catering and Tyres Direct UK.
Tom Oakley, General Manager of the tyre shop, says since the work on Gipsy Patch Lane commenced last January, he’s seen a revenue loss of a staggering £300,000.
“It’s had a massive impact,” he said. “We used to be open seven days a week with seven members of staff, now we’re open five and a half days a week with two members of staff.
“We used to get between 25-30 customers each day and now we’re getting between eight and ten. We’re about 40-60 per cent down each month.
“The one-way system is making no difference. Locals aren’t aware [we’re open] and the signs are so confusing."
Tom explained that his parents, who own the Patchway Tyres Direct site, had saved enough money for how long they thought the works were going to be.
“My parents bought this site because of the location,” he said. “We were given the traffic data when we brought this site which stated 23,000 cars a day. But some days we get zero footfall.
"It has devalued the premises.”
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A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: "Throughout the construction work for the CPME project we have engaged with and supported local businesses. While Gipsy Patch Lane was closed completely to traffic, we installed a comprehensive signage strategy in the Filton, Stoke Gifford and Little Stoke areas promoting local businesses. We also continue to meet regularly with representatives from the business community to keep them up to date on traffic management so they can keep their customers informed.
“There is no automatic or statutory provision for compensation to be payable by the highway authority if a business is affected by roadworks. However, there is potential relief from business rates available if business premises are affected by severe local disruption. Local businesses have therefore been directed to both Government and the Council’s own advice on how to apply for hardship relief and if they think they might be eligible should arrange their own representation for further advice on how and when to make a claim.
“The new westbound one-way system on Gipsy Patch Lane is needed for the road widening work that we are doing to enable the construction of the new bus lanes. A one-way system gives our crews the required working space so they can complete the works in a methodical and efficient way whilst balancing the community need to reinstate a traffic system through the bridge. A two-way system would delay completion because work crews could only work on a small section of the road at a time and significant amounts of time would be spent on re-arranging the traffic management as they progress.
“For safety reasons, the majority of side roads to the east of the railway bridge that fall within the one-way system need to remain closed at their junctions with Gipsy Patch Lane. This includes Station Road, Gifford Crescent, the Gipsy Patch Lane service road, Smithcourt Drive, Bush Avenue and Titan Road. Closing these side roads was considered the safest approach to prevent drivers potentially turning the wrong way out of these junctions. We also cannot allow traffic to exit side roads through a live construction site.
“Vehicular access to the shops at Gifford Crescent is possible via a diversion route via Kingsway and pedestrians and cyclists can still access the shops from Gipsy Patch Lane.
“Businesses at Pegasus Park are also accessible, but traffic entering and exiting needs to follow the one-way system. This means that the junction is ‘right-in’ and ‘right-out’ only. This arrangement is only during the one-way system. Once construction is complete there are no plans to change access arrangements for Pegasus Park.”
See here for more on what the new one-way system means.
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