‘It will be business as usual, so don’t be put off.’
This is the plea from traders in Spalding after a yellow A4 laminated notice suddenly appeared on a post, warning the Hole in the Wall passage will be closed for two weeks.
The notice states pedestrians will not be able to use the popular cut-through from the Market Place to The Crescent from February 23 to March 6 while essential gas main replacement work takes place.
However, disabled access will be available via the HSBC bank car park.
This has left some traders fearing the worst as they wait for business to pick up while shoppers recover from Christmas and the sales.
We spoke to Karl Sergison, of Sergi’s Deli, yesterday, and he said he had only seen 20 or 30 customers that day, even with the passage open.
He said: “The sign just appeared. It would have been nice to have had some warning.
“If the passage is blocked customers wanting to come to us from the Market Place just won’t bother.
“Two weeks is a long time to lose what little footfall we have.”
Mark Bennett opened next door at Petals of Spalding in Francis Street in October.
He said: “That’s all we need.
“I’m still getting established and people are just starting to know where I am.
“A lot of my customers use the passage, but it’s already quiet.
“Closure of the passage will just kill it.”
Shopper Samantha Baldock was heading down the passage into Francis Street from the Market Place, on her way to Bookmark in The Crescent.
She said: “I always use the passage if I’m this side of town. If I saw it was closed, I probably wouldn’t bother to go a longer way round.
“I think a lot of people will be like that.”
Closure of the passage will add to the frustration being caused by roadworks across the town.
Currently, there are eight locations affected – A151 West Elloe Avenue until Monday, B1173 Commercial Road until April 1, B1173 High Street, B1172 London Road until tomorrow, Albion Street until February 25, Willesby Road until Tuesday, and the B1173 Cowbit Road until March 31.
The Spalding Guardian investigated who will be responsible for the work in the passage and Lincolnshire County Council was able to confirm to us that it will be the National Grid.
However yesterday, the National Grid was unable to provide any additional information.
Meanwhile, traders in The Crescent are urging customers not to be put off by the work.
A spokesman said: “It will be business as usual so we would appreciate people still coming around to see us.”
Access to shops and cafes can be made via the passage at the side of Hills Furniture Store from the town centre, Vine Street from London Road, or, from the Sheepmarket at the other side of The Crescent.