Pickering traders’ takings are hit by lengthy roadworks

Gazette & Herald: Pickering traders, from the left, Matthew Wilkinson, Mark Brayshaw, of Pickering Cycle Centre, and Neil  Armstrong who are unhappy at the roadworks Pickering traders, from the left, Matthew Wilkinson, Mark Brayshaw, of Pickering Cycle Centre, and Neil Armstrong who are unhappy at the roadworks

GASWORKS have made Pickering a no-go zone with trade down by almost half according to the town’s business owners.

Northern Gas Networks has been carrying out essential works in the town to replace ageing metal gas mains which are due to be completed on Friday, Work started at the end of October with Market Place due to be closed for three weeks followed by further closures in Burgate and Smiddy Hill.

However, traders said they were told the work would not go on into December and they have had little support during the disruption.

Neil Armstrong, from Trailblazers Outdoor Centre, which has been in Pickering for 12 years said this was the worst November he had known.

“Our trade is massively down and people here are really feeling the pain,” he said.

“Signs have been put up saying parking is suspended so anyone who stops briefly is given a ticket – they have created a no-go zone in the town centre.”

Neil said: “This is a vital time of year for all of us and if shoppers can’t get here easily they will go elsewhere.”

Matthew Wilkinson, from Television House, said trade was starting to pick up but it had been a difficult period.

“Pickering has been like a ghost town,” he said.

“I took a photo at 3pm last Thursday and there was not a single person in the Market Place and I have never seen that before.”

He added that he was grateful that massive holes had been filled in before the town’s Christmas light switch on.

“I realise this work has to be done but all that is needed is a bit of common sense,” Matthew said.

Steve Richardson, site manager for Northern Gas Networks, said: “Our work was due to finish in the Market Place area of Pickering last Friday, however due to engineering difficulties and the discovery of a broken water main, the work is now expected to be fully completed by this Friday, December 6.

“I can confirm however that Market Place is now fully open as is Willow Gate. Our remaining work is on Smiddy Hill. We’d like to apologise to pedestrians and motorists for any inconvenience caused while this essential work is carried out.”

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