Closing Lindfield High Street for two weeks a ‘big blow’ say businesses

Small businesses in Lindfield are ‘very concerned’ after being told by the council the High Street will be closed for two weeks so road resurfacing can be carried out.

However, the county council insists it does not intend to close the whole High Street for two weeks. It says it will begin at the southern end, so work can be progressed ‘as far away as possible from the school and the majority of businesses’.

Concerned business owners in Lindfield. Photo by Steve Robards

Concerned business owners in Lindfield. Photo by Steve Robards

The ‘essential’ road resurfacing is scheduled to start on February 18, the county council said.

Mary Collins, owner of Kell & Collins in Denmans Lane, Lindfield, told the Middy: “Everyone is very concerned – the High Street is already really suffering.

“They are saying the road is in a terrible state – I’m not an expert, but why now? The road isn’t that bad. There are other roads that are in a much worse state.

“I just think closing the High Street for two weeks is going to seriously impact our businesses. People from outside Lindfield won’t be able to get into the village.”

We are lucky to have loyal customers who support us, but to not have the road open for two weeks, it is a big blow.

Chrissie White, owner of Caragon boutique

Chrissie White, owner of Caragon boutique in High Street, Lindfield, said she was also very concerned.

“There has been very little communication with any of the shops,” she said.

“We are lucky to have loyal customers who support us, but to not have the road open for two weeks, it is a big blow.

“It is always challenging being a small business, but this is going to make it very difficult.

Photo by Steve Robards

Photo by Steve Robards

“I just feel that the road isn’t that bad and to close the High Street at quite short notice – I am not very happy.”

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Chrissie said the road was closed a few years ago so Southern Water could carry out works but the businesses were given more notice.

She said she understood these type of works need to happen but was disappointed none of the businesses will be getting any compensation.

“We got compensation before,” she told the Middy. “I know that it is difficult and money is tight, but running a small business is not easy.

“But it is what it is – we just want to try and make the best out of a difficult situation and we want to reassure our customers that we are going to remain open.

“We have worked hard to build our businesses and we are proud of that and we want to be here to support the community long-term.”

A county council spokesman said: “We are fully aware of the impact this type of work can have for local businesses, residents and the wider travelling public: this is why every effort is being made to try to minimise inconvenience, including:

– Work will be carried out in sections – we don’t intend to close the whole High Street for two weeks. We will begin at the southern end, so work can be progressed as far away as possible from the school and the majority of local businesses by the end of the half-term break.

– Shops and businesses will be able to open as usual throughout. The car parks in Denmans Lane and Brushes Lane will be open as usual but alternative access routes may be needed at times. Pedestrian access will be maintained to homes, shops and businesses.

– Our contractor is liaising with local businesses to try to limit any inconvenience and has put out ‘Businesses Open as Usual’ signs alongside the advance warning signs for the works.

– The project has been scheduled to start at the beginning of the school half-term week, when traffic volumes are generally lower.

“Regarding the question of compensation: we have a legal duty to maintain the public highway, so compensation for commercial loss is not payable.

“It’s also important to emphasise that we do not carry out this type of work lightly – the existing surface has deteriorated significantly over the last 12 months and it is essential that we carry out these works to stop any further deterioration.

“The long-lasting replacement will be strong, less vulnerable to potholes and the need for frequent and disruptive small repairs and the newly-resurfaced road will enhance the appearance of the High Street.”