Rothbury businesses anger at road closure plan as they seek to recover from Covid-19 pandemic
Rothbury businesses have criticised plans to close one of the main roads into the Coquet Valley.
Northumberland County Council intends to close the B6344 at Todsteads between Rothbury and Weldon Bridge for a 10 week period from the end of April to carry out more survey works.
However, local businesses have questioned the council’s timing as they seek to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Debbie Noble, who owns the Turks Head, said: “The fact that the council seem to think that a ‘modest diversion’ will have little impact on local business, clearly shows that they have very short memories and cannot recall the significant impact the diversion had when the road was closed at Cragend.”
Heidi Youngman, landlady of the Queens Head, added: “If things weren’t bad enough already, the council goes and does something like this. Why could these works not have been carried out while we have been in lockdown and when it has been exceptionally quiet on this road?
It is understood that the same road will also be closed later on the year while inspection works are carried on the landslip at Cragend.
Kevin Mulraney, who opened Bewicks Kitchen and Coffee House in Rothbury just before the pandemic hit, said: “The complete lack of consultation, communication and coordination on this matter just serves to prove that this council does not understand the impact that this closure is going to have nor do they evidently care. Why on earth these works cannot be coordinated together is beyond comprehension.”
Steven Bridgett, county councillor for Rothbury and Coquetdale ward, said: “These works have been presented to my residents and businesses as a fait accompli, with no consultation or discussion.
"This road has been sinking and cracking for decades, this council has spent four years twiddling their thumbs carrying out survey after survey and we are still no further forward with regards to a permanent fix.
"You could have built a brand new road with the millions they have wasted patching it up and in the time it has taken for them to carry out all of this survey work.”