'Come back to Kirkham,' shop owners plead as main road is set to be re-opened

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Shopkeepers in Kirkham are urging locals who have stayed away during major roadworks to put a trip to the town’s high street back on their shopping lists.

Traders have endured weeks of disruption after Poulton Street – the main route through Kirkham – was closed late last month for emergency drainage repairs.

Elaine Silverwood is glad the disruption is over

Elaine Silverwood is glad the disruption is over

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Water company United Utilities has been working to replace a 100-year-old sewer which was causing parts of the road to subside.

But the road is now expected to re-open by Friday, in time for the busy weekend period.

And while one business owner has praised the firm for its speedy completion of the job, she says the closure has had a “dire” effect on the town’s shops.

“The surrounding roads have been chaotic, so if people haven’t really had to come into Kirkham, they have avoided it,” said Elaine Silverwood of Book, Bean and Ice Cream.

“I don’t think people register how busy a road is until it’s closed. It’s especially had an impact on the elderly and, of course, businesses still have bills to pay whether they are getting any customers or not.

“But I do want to thank United Utilities – I take my hat off to them for getting such a big job done so quickly and they did encircle the town with signs saying the shops were open as usual.

“So now I’d just ask customers to come back and support us.”

The local democracy reporting service understands that affected business have been advised how to make a claim for any loss of earnings caused by the works.

Meanwhile, Liz Oades, Independent county councillor for the Fylde East division, has echoed traders’ calls for locals to get back into the habit of supporting their local shops.

“They have suffered during this road closure – and it’s a case of use them or lose them.

“I know there are a lot of people worried about the future of the town and the best way to safeguard it is by supporting the local shops as often as you can.

“I’d also like to thank United Utilities for getting the job done ahead of schedule and communicating so well with all concerned,” County Cllr Oades added.

United Utilities project manager Paul Rigby said the emergency work had been completed in a much tighter timeframe than if it had been a pre-planned job.

“We’ve replaced nearly 200 metres of old Victorian pipework with modern watertight pipes. We’ve done it in very short timescales, to minimise the impact on the local traders,” he said.

“A project like this usually involves many months of forward planning, but in this case we didn’t have that luxury.

“I want to thank the traders who have been so understanding and supportive of the work we needed to do. It has been a pleasure for the whole team to work in Kirkham alongside the community.”