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Fears that cobble repairs will harm trade in Ulverston
TRADERS fear work to repair, and replace, Ulverston’s much-loved cobbles will see dwindling sales in the run-up to the festive season.
Work has begun on a section of Market Street’s famous old setts which are posing a health and safety risk to shoppers.
Cumbria County Council contractors have begun the work, which is expected to last until November 15, covering a crucial shopping period according to Tom Bowden, owner of Working Class Heroes.
“It is great that the cobbles are getting fixed and any improvement, and investment, in the town centre is welcomed by me, but the only concern I have is with regards to footfall because we are going to lose some business.
“Trade picks up significantly in the first week of November, the second-to-last pay cheque before Christmas, and they are planning to be doing the work during that time. It will be outside my shop in the first two weeks of November.
“It would have an effect on business whatever time of year, but we can afford that in Febr-uary, or March, whereas in November we can’t,.”
Town mayor Brenda Marr said she could appreciate why traders would be unhappy about the tim-ing of the work.
“Unfortunately as a town coun-cil, it is out of our control. I think they could have put the work off perhaps until the new year. We have had assurances that it will be made good by the Dickensian Festival (November 24 and 25), but I realise it is very disruptive because there is no pavement on one side of the road, and the cobbles do go right up to the door of some of the businesses.
“They do need replacing and hat is the trouble. If you don’t replace them it is a health and safety issue, but if you do replace them it causes problems for businesses.”
A Cumbria County Council spokesperson said: “The Market Street cobbles works are due to last for four weeks, so they are set to be completed before the Christmas embargo period - this is where no works can be carried out that may interrupt trade, unless they are emergency works, during times when Christmas shopping is at its peak.”
“If the works cannot be compl-eted within the four weeks, we will look at other options, such as picking the works back up after the festive period. We apologise for any inconvenience the works may cause, and will do our utmost to minimise disruption.”