Closure of Tower ‘takes toll on trade’

The Bondgate Tower which will be closed until Wednesday.
The Bondgate Tower which will be closed until Wednesday.

The closure of Alnwick’s Bondgate Tower has been likened to ‘closing off the main artery of the body’.

The 15th century gatehouse was temporarily closed on Friday, to assess the damage after it was hit by a vehicle the previous week.

But an inspection found that the damage was more serious than originally thought and the Grade-I listed tower was closed for emergency repairs, reopening on Tuesday.

And traders say that the closure has affected business.

Dave Scott, who runs Scott’s of Alnwick, said: “It was certainly considerably quieter.

“I liken the Tower to the main artery in the body.

“We have seen a reduction in footfall and a reduction in people just wandering and driving by.

“If it was shut forever we would have to shut the shop.

“But the guys who were working on it were there straight away.”

And Ali Todd, owner of Jobson’s of Alnwick, which is right next to the Tower agreed.

She said: “It does have an effect but we are really pleased that they got on to it so quickly.

“But it also proves that it would be a nightmare if they did shut the Tower completely.

“Our business would have to close.”

When the road was first closed off on Friday, signage was criticised as being inadequate.

Chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, Carlo Biagioni, said: “The majority of people have been affected by the closure. This time, we were lucky that it was only for four days but some of the traders were angry that the work was done at the weekend, which is the busiest time.”

Mr Biagioni added that he had spoken to a county council officer who said that it is not feasible for the tower to take the amount of traffic going through Alnwick and options need to be looked at to preserve it.