Traders urge customers not to let roadworks put them off visiting Darlington

The Advertiser Series: Traders have said disruptive roadworks are driving shoppers out of their town Traders have said disruptive roadworks are driving shoppers out of their town

TRADERS at a historic market which last year celebrated its 150th anniversary have said disruptive roadworks are driving shoppers out of their town.

The Stonebridge roundabout, on Darlington’s inner ring road, is being replaced with a light-controlled junction to improve the flow of traffic around the town centre.

Work on the £3.7m scheme began in February and is expected to take up to a year to complete.

Motorists and pedestrians have been subject to a number of diversions and road closures while the work is carried out, which local traders believe is contributing to a decline in customer numbers.

Alex Blackham, owner of The Diner in the covered market, said there had been a steady decline in the number of people shopping in the market recently.

He said: “It was quite noticeable when the work to the ring road started.

“I know traders often look for excuses and say it is somebody else’s fault, but maybe it really is somebody else’s fault this time.

“Darlington is still an attractive place to come, as we have got businesses that are not available in other towns in the North-East.”

His thoughts were echoed by long-established covered market trader Robin Blair, who said a lack of cheap car parking near the market and the closure of the public toilets were also contributing to the decline in customers.

The Victorian market hall celebrated its 150th anniversary last June with a weekend of celebrations. However since then, a number of stallholders have closed and moved on.

Trader Samantha Blackham said: “If you think this time last year it was the 150th birthday we were so busy. Since then several traders have closed.”

Beryl Hankin, owner of Guru Boutique in Blackwellgate, urged customers not to be put off visiting Darlington because of the roadworks.

She said: “It is well worth the effort of coming here as once in town, we are very hospitable and have so much to offer.”

Council leader Bill Dixon said any loss of trade was regrettable, but that the authority had to tackle congestion in the town.

He said: “I accept that work to the ring road is disruptive but if we didn’t do it we would pay – we would have gridlock then people would complain that there is a permanent loss of trade.

“Obviously it is regrettable, but if you want to have an omelette you have got to break eggs.”

He said the authority continues to invest in the covered market and would support traders in exploring new ways to secure its future.

Comments (9)

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11:09am Fri 20 Jun 14

charliebrown1 says...

“Obviously it is regrettable, but if you want to have an omelette you have got to break eggs.”

me thinks your eggs will be scrambled shortly!
“Obviously it is regrettable, but if you want to have an omelette you have got to break eggs.” me thinks your eggs will be scrambled shortly! charliebrown1
  • Score: 14

11:16am Fri 20 Jun 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

I'm afraid It's more than roadworks that are deterring people from coming to Darlington.
I'm afraid It's more than roadworks that are deterring people from coming to Darlington. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 18

11:39am Fri 20 Jun 14

LUSTARD says...

think ill have an ommellette, does any one know what happenned to larchfield st getting demolished and made into a road
think ill have an ommellette, does any one know what happenned to larchfield st getting demolished and made into a road LUSTARD
  • Score: 2

1:17pm Fri 20 Jun 14

black&whitehorse says...

tis gettin rediculars a man cant park his horse anywhere in this town
tis gettin rediculars a man cant park his horse anywhere in this town black&whitehorse
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Fri 20 Jun 14

miketually says...

When we were last in town, the (free) car park we used was busier than usual, and town itself seemed as busy as normal. It didn't take us any longer than normal to get down there.
When we were last in town, the (free) car park we used was busier than usual, and town itself seemed as busy as normal. It didn't take us any longer than normal to get down there. miketually
  • Score: -2

3:16pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Homshaw1 says...

I work in the Town Centre and often take a stroll. Sometimes there are people around. Saturday and Monday seem busy. For some of the week it's like a graveyard.

I don't think the road works are a major factor. It's not hard to avoid them
I work in the Town Centre and often take a stroll. Sometimes there are people around. Saturday and Monday seem busy. For some of the week it's like a graveyard. I don't think the road works are a major factor. It's not hard to avoid them Homshaw1
  • Score: 2

8:17pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Spy Boy says...

LUSTARD wrote:
think ill have an ommellette, does any one know what happenned to larchfield st getting demolished and made into a road
It was demolished and then built over when the council failed in another of its wonderful schemes, the one for a ring road. In fact both ring roads were not finished. What an inept bunch. If you don't like the new Stone Bridge junction, don't worry, the council change it all over again in 5 years at our expense. Hopefully, the dreaded throughabout will go at the same time.

How do we stop this council's stupidity, you may ask. Best way is to vote them out next year.
[quote][p][bold]LUSTARD[/bold] wrote: think ill have an ommellette, does any one know what happenned to larchfield st getting demolished and made into a road[/p][/quote]It was demolished and then built over when the council failed in another of its wonderful schemes, the one for a ring road. In fact both ring roads were not finished. What an inept bunch. If you don't like the new Stone Bridge junction, don't worry, the council change it all over again in 5 years at our expense. Hopefully, the dreaded throughabout will go at the same time. How do we stop this council's stupidity, you may ask. Best way is to vote them out next year. Spy Boy
  • Score: 2

8:21pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Spy Boy says...

"Council leader Bill Dixon said any loss of trade was regrettable, but that the authority had to tackle congestion in the town."

This WILL NOT DO THIS. Nothing you lot ever do WORKS. There will be congestion until you get someone in place that has a brain and some talent to make a real long term plan. Every time I think of the council I start thinking of breweries and the holding of the proverbial in one. You have no credibility outside of your own cabinet office.
"Council leader Bill Dixon said any loss of trade was regrettable, but that the authority had to tackle congestion in the town." This WILL NOT DO THIS. Nothing you lot ever do WORKS. There will be congestion until you get someone in place that has a brain and some talent to make a real long term plan. Every time I think of the council I start thinking of breweries and the holding of the proverbial in one. You have no credibility outside of your own cabinet office. Spy Boy
  • Score: 4

7:00pm Sun 22 Jun 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

black&whitehorse wrote:
tis gettin rediculars a man cant park his horse anywhere in this town
It's getting what? 'Rediculars'....

I imagine your horse has a better intellect and grasp of the English language than you do.

Thick as mince!

Keep on travelling.....anywh
ere but here!
[quote][p][bold]black&whitehorse[/bold] wrote: tis gettin rediculars a man cant park his horse anywhere in this town[/p][/quote]It's getting what? 'Rediculars'.... I imagine your horse has a better intellect and grasp of the English language than you do. Thick as mince! Keep on travelling.....anywh ere but here! thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 1

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