West Leeds: Shop owners’ fury over road closure

Calverley business owners Andrew 'Brad' Bradley, Peter Frost, Mick Browning, Anita Patel and Richard Kennedy. Picture by Tony Johnson
Calverley business owners Andrew 'Brad' Bradley, Peter Frost, Mick Browning, Anita Patel and Richard Kennedy. Picture by Tony Johnson
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Frustrated business owners in Calverley claim a council decision to close an entire main road for roadworks has had a “nightmare” effect on trade.

Leeds City Council wrote to residents and businesses six weeks ago to inform them of resurfacing work on Woodhall Road, which would take two weeks and involve closing the road from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

But shop owners in the village say they have seen sales plummet and questioned why the whole road has to be shut.

They also fear the work is falling behind schedule and say the road rarely reopens on time - creating traffic chaos when schools finish.

Mick Browning of Mick’s Cafe on Woodhall Road said: “It’s an absolutely nightmare. It’s shut from 9.30am to 3.30pm every day - although they have never finished on time apart from last Friday. And Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week they didn’t even turn up. It’s just killing business. I had a great business - it’s taken me two and a half years to build up, and it’s suddenly being killed in two and a half weeks. They should have used traffic lights and done the road in patches. They didn’t need to close the main road through Calverley. We rely on passing traffic and people being able to drive down. I think my trade is probably 60 per cent down.”

Andrew Bradley, owner of nearby Capelli hairdressers on Rushton Road, a side street off Woodhall Road, said: “It’s been a fiasco. We’ve been telling our clients the road reopens at 3.30pm but that hasn’t been the case. Our clients have been ringing us saying they’re being diverted and can’t get to the salon. The council haven’t done their homework and have shown no consideration to shop owners.”

He said poor signage had also meant people are driving down his side street, only to find the main road closed at the bottom. “They’re having to reverse back up. Yesterday I counted 107 cars having to reverse back up - large skip wagons, and elderly people who would find it difficult to reverse up a hill.”

Leeds City Council said it is a safety requirement to close both carriageways and on the occasions where the road has not reopened before 3.30pm, it is so the highway is not left in an unsafe condition.

A spokeswoman said: “While we do sympathise with business owners who feel they have been affected by the road closures, we have made every attempt to carry out this important maintenance work at a time to cause least disruption to most people. Unfortunately there were some delays caused by unforeseen circumstances which were beyond our contractor’s control, but we’re working closely with them to ensure the work is carried out as quickly as possible.”

The works will be fully completed by next Friday, weather dependent.

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