Harrogate MP, Andrew Jones, joined local Councillors and traders from Leeds Road in a bid to sort out problems caused by the ongoing roadworks connected with the new M&S Simply Food store.
Traders on the parade of shops near Scott’s Corner have seen dramatic reductions in their takings since the work to construct the store began. The roadworks are scheduled to continue until the end of April 2014.
Mr Jones attended a meeting at Cafe Culture on Leeds Road on Saturday afternoon (1 March 2014). Around 15 traders attended along with North Yorkshire County Council Cabinet member, Councillor Don Mackenzie and local Councillor Cliff Trotter who also lives nearby.
Following the meeting Mr Jones commented: Many local people and traders tell me that they welcome the new M&S store but that the construction phase is having a severe impact on their takings. The key to resolving this situation is getting the roadworks finished quickly. Everyone realises that such a major development requires utility works and changes to road layouts. But that doesn’t help shoppers and motorists let alone the significant and negative impact on local traders. Councillor Don Mackenzie is organising a meeting on site with highways officials to see what can be done to speed up the works.
I have also written to the Chief Executive of Marks & Spencers. I know that M&S will want to be good neighbours. That is why I want to see a concerted effort to get people back to the Leeds Road shops when Marks & Spencers Simply Food opens. I hope that M&S will work with the established traders on a publicity campaign to get people back to the Leeds Road shops.
Local Councillor Cliff Trotter who lives nearby on Leadhall Lane added: M&S will provide an extra attraction for shoppers to come to Leeds Road. However, the roadworks during the construction have created enormous problems for everyone who uses the junction. An early finish to the work is critical as is help for those businesses that have been affected once the area is back to normal. I am hopeful that we can move forward on both these issues following the meeting on Saturday.
The Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce are also continuing to support the businesses on Leeds road..
Brian Dunsby the Chief Executive of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: The Chamber endorses the concerns of the Oatlands Retailers – we have observed the difficulties now experienced by any customers trying to park along the parade of shops due to the queuing traffic. This has been aggravated by the recent red zone marking and lane changes near Vernon Road.
The prolonged delays at the Leeds Road/Hookstone Road lights is also having a serious effect on Town Centre businesses who are dependent on their staff, their customers and potential visitors driving in from the south side of Harrogate.