Businesses fear Bargates closure in Christchurch

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A CORPORATE owner warned it would be “finished” if a three-month series of roadworks continued without support or compensation.

Bargates in downtown Christchurch are expected to be closed in one direction later this month to repair a collapsed sewer.

On Thursday, December 30, Wessex Water announced that the road would be closed in both directions. However, on the afternoon of Friday, December 31, the company said it would actually only be closed one way as traffic could not get into the city center via Bargates from Fairmile. A detour will be set up via Stour Road and Barrack Road. Vehicles will be able to travel in the opposite direction to Bargates from the fountain roundabout away from the city center.

After experiencing problems after a short period of emergency work several weeks ago, traders in Bargates have expressed fears over the prolonged partial road closure.

Wessex Water overhead lines currently in place

Gary Adams, owner of Castles Home Hardware, said, “I told them if they were going to shut it down for three months, they would put me out of business. We’ll be done and that’s how stressful it is.

“All year long we have been recovering from when SSE was doing road work in September 2020. They said it was going to take seven days and seven weeks. We have lost so much money.

“It took us until summer to balance, then we had a pretty bad September and October, naturally, then they shut it down in late November and early December and I lost £ 8,000. We understand it’s an emergency, but the impact it’s having on Christchurch, they don’t understand how it works.

Mr Adams said Wessex Water should have visited the companies and called on them to hold a meeting so that all views can be expressed and the company can respond with their mitigation. He said the utility company should compensate Bargates companies.

“Bargates is the main lode entering Christchurch with the A35,” Adams said.

“You close one leg, even one lane, the impact is catastrophic.

“It won’t affect me just for the three months. It will affect me for five or six months because people will migrate and go elsewhere. ”

Wessex Water carried out emergency work in the area several weeks ago, with temporary land pipes installed until the permanent repair was made.

Bournemouth Echo: Christchurch Carpets is an established company in BargatesChristchurch Carpets is an established company in Bargates

Christchurch Carpets staff expressed similar concerns and called for signs to remind motorists businesses are still open.

Southern Domestic Appliances has been doing business from its Bargates premises for over 10 years. Owner Jason Hemmings said, “It’s going to have a financial impact and attendance is really affected.

“We do a lot of repairs in the field, which will make it harder to come and go.

Bournemouth Echo: South Appliances at BargatesSouthern Appliances at Bargates

“In the longer term, this will affect consumer confidence. People won’t come here as much and may never come back. In recent years there has been a lot of utility works on the road. One will end and then another will begin.

“There was a lack of communication. We feel totally ignored.

“We know it’s so bad, but we’re small businesses. It’s like we’re being bullied into shutting up and putting up with it. ”

A spokesperson for Wessex Water said: “We understand the concern and frustration raised by local businesses, but due to the location and depth of the sewer it is simply not possible to ” carry out repairs without partially closing the road.

“Although the road is closed to through traffic one way, we will be able to help facilitate deliveries. A relatively short detour is also in place to bypass the partial road closure. At the start of the New Year, we will happily speak to any business owners who have specific issues and look to see if there is anything we can do to help them.


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