Fury as workers move in early

FURIOUS businesses have hit out after arriving at work to find gas works had begun – exactly a month before they should.

Traders in Holmes Road, Sowerby Bridge, had been sent letters telling them six weeks of work would begin on September 26.

But yesterday – August 26 – contractors arrived and closed the road, leaving 15 businesses cut off from customers and deliveries.

Dan Beaumont, who runs Mearclough Farm Feeds, arrived at his business at 9.30am to find the road blocked at both ends.

Instead of the usual 15 customers who would have come through his doors on a Friday morning, he had just one. His turnover was down from £500 to £28.

A delivery truck could not get to the shop so instead staff

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had to meet the truck in West Vale to offload the goods.

Ross Connell, who runs the nearby Auto Profile Body Shop relies on passing trade. He had no customers during the time the road was closed.

Northern Gas Networks apologised and said it was a mistake the signs were put out early.

Northern Gas Networks spokeswoman Gwen Allen said: “We are really sorry for any confusion caused by this. Streetwise, the traffic management company we are using for this work, put the signs out a month early.

“We do not have any engineers on site and there are no plans to start this work early.”

She said work will replace 235m of ageing metal gas pipes with a more durable plastic version.

Business owners were due to meet with Enterprise, the contractors on behalf of Northern Gas Networks, on Tuesday to talk through the options when the roadworks start.

They say it has shown them just how devastating the works will be on their businesses when they start next month.

“This is just a taste of what it’s going to be like. It’s been totally dead this morning.”

Dan said it will be the busiest time of the year for Mearclough as the animals are brought in and from mid-September deliveries will be upped

They have been warned the road will be reduced to single file traffic during the works, but there will be no room for wagons to manoeuvre and no parking.

Ross, who has only recently set up his business, he said he will be unable to move the cars he is working on around the garage, or park on the road. “I want to make my business work but this is a kick in the teeth.”

Calderdale Council said they acted swiftly and decisively to clear the signs from the road once they were told about the mistake.