Businesses have reacted with dismay and anger over the news, revealed only last week, that a major road into Burnley is to be closed for a year from next month.
The Burnley Express reported last week that Lancashire County Council will undertake a huge engineering project, starting on November 4th, to improve the junction of Accrington Road, Rossendale Road and Rosegrove Lane – work which will see the closure of the western side of Accrington Road.
READ MORE: Motorists warned of disruptions and diversions as major Burnley road to be closed for a year
A number of small businesses are based on that stretch of road, with two in particular telling the Express of their fears for their livelihoods.
The owners of Uttley Memorials and Reedley Car Company, based next door to each other, both said the closure will have a significant impact on their businesses.
Sean Uttley, who runs the memorial and grave digging business with brother David, said: “We are very worried. A lot of our customers come to us as passing trade.
“If they can’t get to us then they will go elsewhere. Not only that, we are in and out of our site at least half a dozen times a day. Any diversions will put hours on our day and drive customers away.
“This closure could seriously put us out of business. I’m scared. It’s absolutely horrendous.”
Mr Uttley said he was also angry that the first he had heard about the closure was when he read it in the Burnley Express.
He added: “I think it’s negligent of Lancashire County Council to give us such short notice for such a massive job. A year is a very long time to cope with a lot of disruption.”
A spokesman for Reedley Car Company also said a lot of their trade came from passing custom.
He said: “A lot of our customers often pull in and have a look round. Obviously we’re worried the road closure will stop that.
“The MOT station that we use is also at the other end of town so that is going to put extra hours on our business if we have to take long diversions.”
Other businesses along the stretch include Sparta, Enviro Fuel, the Agra restaurant and the Network 65 industrial estate.
Lancashire County Council’s £3m. scheme, close to Junction 9 of the M65, aims to break the bottleneck of congestion currently experienced at the junction of Accrington Road, Rosegrove Lane and Rossendale Road, and is part of the Hyndburn-Burnley-Pendle Growth Corridor.
The ambitious programme, which will also see trees felled along that stretch of Accrington Road to create two extra lanes, is part of the £320m Growth Deal secured from government by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
The decision to close the road has been taken on safety grounds to avoid the likelihood of traffic queuing back onto the M65 at Junction 9, and allow room for work to take place safely within the restricted space available at the junction and on Accrington Road.
Simon Bucknell, operations manager for Lancashire County Council’s highways department, said: “Traffic on that leg of Accrington Road currently is struggling to cope with the flow. It is saturated at the moment so the improvements will definitely allow for future growth.”